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Full text of "The prisoners' hidden life, or, Insane asylums unveiled : as demonstrated by the report of the Investigating committee of the legislature of Illinois, together with Mrs. Packard's coadjutors' testimony"

/I E> RAR.Y 

OF THE 
UNIVERSITY 
OF ILLINOIS 



HISTORICAL 



THE 



OR 



Insane Asylums Unveiled: 



AS DEMONSTRATED BY THE 



Report of the Investigating Committee of the 
legislature of Illinois, 



TOGETHER WITH 



BY 



MRS. E. P. W. PACKARD. 



"Ye shall know the truth." 



CHICAGO: 

PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR. 

A. B. CASK, Printer' 139 Monroe St 

1868. 



op. 3 



Intend according to act of Congress A. D., 1868, by 

MRS. E. P. W. PACKAEB, 
ID the Clerkl offioe of the Dist Court for the Northern Hist, of Illinois. 



Preface. 

The legalized usurpation of human rights is the great evil 
underlying our social fabric. From this corrupt center spring 
the evils of our social system. This corruption has culmin- 
ated in the Insane Asylums of the nineteenth century. Let 
the Government but remove this cause of insanity, and the 

* need of such Institutions would be greatly lessened. 
o- 

So long as the enlightened mothers of the present day 

are obliged to assert and defend their own identity, sim- 
Q ply because the Government fails to doit, so long will their 
'*7 offspring bear the seeds of unbalanced organization, which 

. only waits for" circumstances to develop into insanity. 
-jjj 

It is one object of the writer in giving her narrative to the 

world, to fasten the public eye upon this evil, as the great 
germinating cause of the insanity of the present age. 

fj The great evil of our present Insane Asylum System lies 
' in the fact, that insanity is there treated as a crime, instead 

^ of a misfortune, which is indeed a gross act of injustice. 
^"Supposing our Government should establish a Charitable In- 
< stitutiori for the purpose of taking all who have had the mis- ' 
n fortune to lose their property, and imprison them, where they 

^ could be punished to any extent, without appeal, for this ca- 

1^' lamity which had befallen them. Supposing too,th Govern- 

212359 



IV PREFACE. 

ment forced this class to accept the discipline of this Charit- 
able Institution, without their own consent, on the verdict of 
a jury, that they had lost their property would this guar- 
dianship of human rights be recognized as hnmanitarian or 
just? 

But supposing the defenders of such Institutions should 
contend that it is for "their good," and the good of "society" 
to thus entomb them; "for, they are no comfort to themselves, 
nor their families," while saddened by the loss of their for- 
tunes and business reputation; and besides, we do not call this 
Institution a Prison, but an Asylum, "where they can rest, 
and be kindly cared for." 

But permit me to reply that calling it an Asylum, when it 
is in reality a Prison, where they are punished for their mis- 
fortune, does not materially help the matter. And besides, 
whether legalized injustice ever promoted the good of the 
individual, or society, is a question yet to be settled. 

To lose one's property and become poor and dependent is 
a great misfortune, and such unfortunates ought to receive 
our commiseration, and be encouraged and helped to rise and 
retrieve their fortunes, instead of being cast out of society as 
public nuisances, to be publicly branded as men whose busi- 
ness capacities are henceforth to be regarded with suspicion 
and distrust. If it would be unreasonable to treat the mis- 
fortune of losing property on this principle, how can it be 
reasonable to treat a greater misfortune that of losing one's 
reason on this same principle ? 

In disclosing to the blinded public the real character of 
their Insane Asylums, the author has relied mainly upon her 
own personal observation, and three years experience, as data 



PKEFAOE. V 

from which to draw her own conclusions ; and if from this 
data her conclusions are not legitimate, she asks the reader 
to be the judge. 

And it is to add weight to these conclusions, that she has 
annexed to her narrative the testimony of several other mar- 
ried women, who have experienced a term of imprisonment 
in Jacksonville Insane Asylum. Of these five ladies whose 
statements she has appended, three of them, viz : Mrs. Olsen, 
Mrs.Minard and Mrs. Shedd, claim that they have never been 
insane. 

Of that part of Mrs. Olsen's thrilling narrative relating to 
myself, the writer would say that she feels a delicacy in al- 
lowing herself to be so lauded in her own book, and that her 
only apology for so doing lies in the fact, that her confidence 
in Mrs Olsen's intelligence, Christianity and her purity of 
purpose was so entire, that she consented to publish her nar- 
rative before reading it herself. 

It may be a satisfaction to the readers of this volume to 
know, that the facts herein stated have been authenticated 
and corroborated by the Illinois Investigating Committee, ap- 
pointed by the Legislature of 1867 to investigate and report 
the result to the Governor ; which they did on the second of 
December, following. In this Report, the writer, Mrs. Olsen, 
Mrs.Minard, Mrs. Shedd, and five others, were acknowledged 
as competent witnesses in the following language, viz : 

"In point of intelligence, character and credibility, they 
are as worthy of belief as other witnesses on whose testimo- 
ny in courts, the property, character, liberty and lives of suit- 
ors daily depend. 

"The committee have entire confidence in the belief, that 



VI PREFACE. 

all these witnesses had a clear understanding, and compre- 
hended, when examined, the obligations of the oath adminis- 
tered" to them; and in an unusually intelligent manner testi- 
fied to matters within their recollection, and were prudent and 
entirely honest, and testified to facts as they believed them 
to exist. "With one or two, unimportant exceptions, neither 
of them exhibited any appearance of a disordered intellect, 
moral obliquity, or defective memory ; and, therefore, to re- 
ject their testimony, appeared to the Committee as calculated 
to defeat an investigation after the truth, and possibily sub- 
vert the ends of public justice." 

MBS. E. P. W. PACKARDI 
Chicago, May, 1868. 



CONTENTS. 

Introduction 11 

CHAPTER I. 
Inspiring Sentiments 13 

CHAPTER H. 

Result of expressing my Obnoxious views, viz : Free Discussion of 
Religious Belief -Rights of Private Judgment " Total 
Depravity" The Unlimited Atonement God's Immutabil- 
ity "What is it to be a Christian Freedom of Conscience 

Spiritual Gifts Questions for the Class 14 

CHAPTER III. 
My Abduction. 34 

CHAPTER IV. 
My Abduction continued 44 

CHAPTER V. 

My Journey 61 

CHAPTER VI. 
My Reception 69 

CHAPTER VII. 
My First Day of Prison Life 61 

CHAPTER VHI. 
The Parting Scene 69 

CHAPTER IX. 

Disappointed Hopes 73 

CHAPTER X. 
The Sunny Side of my Prison Life ... 11 

CHAPTER XI. 
My Transition 85 

CHAPTER XII. 
Removal from the Best Ward to the "Worst 88 

CHAPTER XIII. 
My Occupation 93 

CHAPTER XIV. 
How I Obtained my Papers 99 

CHAPTER XV. 
Evidences of My Insanity 102 

CHAPTER XVI. 
The Attendant who Abused me 107 

CHAPTER XVII. 
" Let Dr. McFarland Bear his own Sins" 110 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
Attempted Reconciliation with Mr. Packard Ill 

(7) 



vm / CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Letter to My Children sent to the Wash tub 116 

CHAPTER XX. 

How I Obtained my first Writing Paper 119 

CHAPTER XXI. 

An Honorable Act in Dr. McFarland 121 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Married Women Unprotected 124 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

My Life Imperiled 1 127 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

Hope of Dr. McFarland's Repentance 132 

CHAPTER XXV. 

" You should Return to your Husband" 133 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Uncared for 136 

CHAPTER XXVU. 

Self-defense Clandestine Letters 139 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 

Miss Mary Tomlin A Model Attendant 147 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

Mrs. McFarland The. Matron 150 

CHAPTER XXX. 

Guilty Husbands 154 

CHAPTER XTXT 

The Sane kept for the Doctor's Benefit 151 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

An Unpleasant Response 162 

CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Is Man the Lord of Creation 163 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

Petition to the Trustees Presented September 1861 165 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

The Rights of the Tax Payers 169 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

The Imputation of Insanity a Barrier to Human Progress 170 

CHAPTER XXXVH. 

Mr. James Lyon's Advice 174 

CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

Record of a. Day 175 

CHAPTER XXXIX. 

How I Bought and Retained some Paper 179 

CHAPTER XL. 

The Aristocracy of Jacksonville Rebuked Another Honorable Act. 183 
CHAPTER XLI. 

" Love Tour Enemies" 187 

CHAPTER XLII. 
How Mr. Packard gave me Paper and how I lost it 189 



CONTENTS. . ix 

CHAPTER XLIII. 
Dialogues with Dr. McFarland on the Woman Question 191 

CH AFTER XLIV. 
My Family Relatives 194 

CHAPTER XLV. 
Old Mrs. Timmons Deserted by her Children 199 

CHAPTER XLVI. 
Mrs. Cheneworth's Suicide Medical Abuse 202 

CHAPTER XLVH. 

Changes and how Brought About 21] 

CHAPTER XLVIII. 
My Battle with Despotism No Surrender 215 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

Good comes of Seeming Evil 219 

CHAPTER L. 

Reading Books and Papers 221 

CHAPTER LI. 

Abusing Mrs. Stanley 225 

CHAPTER LII. 

Subduing a New Prisoner . . . 228 

CHAPTER Lin. 
Treatment of the Sick 232 

CHAPTER LIY. 

Mrs. Leonard's Visit to her Mother 234 

CHAPTER LV. 

Mrs. Emeline Bridgman or Nature's Laws Broken 238 

CHAPTER LVI. 
The Guilt of Folly 245 

CHAPTER LVII. 
Mrs. "Watts Driven from off her Sick Bed 249 

CHAPTER LVIII. 

Dangerous to be a Married Woman in Illinois 250 

CHAPTER LIX. 
Interview with Mr. Wells of Chicago A Victim of Homesickness. 253 

CHAPTER LX. 
An Asylum Sabbath 257 

CHAPTER LXI. 
Letters to Dr. McFarland 258 

CHAPTER LXII. 
My Attempt to get an Attendant Discharged 261 

CHAPTER LXIII. 
A New Attendant Installed Something New 265 

CHAPTER LXIV. 
My Protest Deprives me of no Privileges 267 

CHAPTER LXV. 

Dr. McFarland a Respecter of Persons 269 

CHAPTER LXVI. 
Kidnapping the Soul 271 

Al 



x CONTENTS; 

CHAPTER LXVII. 

Orthodox Heaven and Hell 214 

CHAPTER LXVIII. 

A Scene in the Fifth "Ward A Good Omen 216 

CHAPTER LXIX. 

Every Moral Act Influences the Moral Universe 280 

CHAPTER LXX. 

The Death Penalty to be Annihilated 281 

CHAPTER LXXI. 

I was Punished for Telling the Truth 284 

CHAPTER LXXII. 

"Wrong Actions arc Suicidal 289 

CHAPTER LXXHI. 

Mrs.Sybil Dole A Fallen Woman 289 

CHATER LXXIY. 

Can a Blind Person See 292 

CHAPTER LXXV. 

Human Instincts above Human Enactments 294 

CHAPTER LXXVI. 

The Prisoner who called Himself " Jesus Christ" 296 

CHAPTER LXXVH. 

Letter to Judge "Whitlock of Jacksonville 300 

CHAPTER LXXVIIL 

Difference between Contentment and Patience 303 

CHAPTER LXXIX. 

My Successful Attempt to Obtain my Freedom 305 

CHAPTER LXXX. 

The Dawning of a New Dispensation 312 

CHAPTER LXXXI. 

The Moral Barometer Indicates a Storm A Hurricane 316 

CHAPTER LXXXII. 

The Clouds Disperse 323 

CHAPTER LXXXIII. 

My Oldest Son Obtains my Discharge 327 

CHAPTER LXXXIV. 

The Trustees Force me into the Hands of Mr. Packard 329 

CHAPTER LXXXV. 

Jacksonville Insane Asylum a Type of other Insane Asylums 338 

CHAPTER LXXXVI. 
A Note of Thanks to the Railroad Companies and the Press of 111.. 339 

CHAPTER LXXXVII. 
An Appeal to the People of Illinois for a Redress of my "Wrongs. . 340 



PART I. 



INTRODUCTION. 

"A wounded spirit who can bear." Spirit wrongs are the 
keenest wounds that can be inflicted upon woman. Her na- 
ture is so sensitively organized that an injury to her feelings 
is felt more keenly than an injury to her person. 

The fortitude of her nature enables her to endure physical 
suffering heroically ; but the wound which her spirit feels 
under a wanton physical abuse is far more deeply felt, and is 
harder to be borne than the physical abuse itself. 

Her very benevolent, confiding, forgiving nature, renders 
it a greater crime to abuse her spirit, than to abuse her person. 
To most men, and some women, this position may appear ab- 
surd, yet it is true ; neither do we feel disposed to blame this 
class for not appreciating it, for their coarser organization 
incapacitates them to understand us. 

When woman is brought before our man courts, and our 
man juries, and has no bruises, or wounds, or marks of violence 
upon her person to show as a ground of her complaint, it is 
hard for them to realize that she has any cause for appeal to 
them for protection ; while at the same time her whole phys- 
ical system may be writhing in agony from spirit wrongs, such 
as can only be understood by her peers. 

Spiritual, sensitive woman, knowing this fact, suffers on in 
silent anguish without appeal, until death kindly liberates her 
from her prison-house of unappreciated suffering. 



Xll INTRODUCTION. 

It is to delineate these spiritual wrongs of woman, that I 
have given my narrative to the public, hoping that my more 
tangible experiences may draw the attention of the philan- 
thropic public to a more just consideration of married woman's 
legal disabilities ; for since the emancipation of the negro, 
there is no class of American citizens, who so much need legal 
protection, and who receive so little, as this class. 

As their representative, I do not make complaint of phys- 
ical abuses, but it is the usurpation of our natural rights of 
which we complain ; and it is our legal position of nonentity, 
which renders us so liable and exposed to suffering and perse- 
cution from this source. 

In the following narrative of my experiences, the reader 
will therefore find the interior of woman's life delineated 
through the exterior surroundings of her bitter experiences. 
I state facts through which the reader may look in to woman's 
soul, as through a mirror, that her realm of suffering may be 
thus portrayed. 

I therefore commence my narrative where my persecution 
commenced, with the marital usurpation of my rights of opin- 
ion and conscience, and as I progress, will note such incidents 
as I can best employ to portray my feelings, rather than the 
recital of the physical abuses I witnessed; since my Coadjutors 
and the Committee have so graphically described the exterior 
life of the prisoner, it is unnecessary for me to enlarge on this 
feature of prison life in Insane Asylums. 

My Asylum journal, delineating my inner life more particu- 
larly, is given, of course, in the language in which it was 
written at the time, and will doubtless, to many appear, for 
this reason, to be strong language. Allow me to suggest to 
such critics, that before you harshly and rashly censure the 
writer, just place yourselves in her exact position, and then 
judge whether your real emotions could be clothed in milder 
language. And let us remember too, that if we speak at all, 
it is the truth alone we are bound to utter, regardless of the 
censure or applause of mortals. 



I. 

Inspiring Sentiments. 

Providence hinges mighty events on pivots exceedingly 
small. What men call accidents, are God's appointed inci- 
dents. We are traitors to any truth when we suppress the 
utterance of it, and allow the opposite error to go unrebuked. 
High principles must be advanced as real laws. A desire to 
elevate all mankind to the nobleness for which they are de- 
signed, should manifest the depth and purity of our moral 
convictions. We should meet evil with mildness, yet, with 
unfaltering firmness. We shoxild aim to bring out a noble 
spirit into daily intercourse, believing that a holy life is a 
more precious offering to truth, than retired speculations and 
writing ; for, he who leaves a holy life behind him, bequeaths 
to the world a richer legacy than any book. The want of 
moral courage to carry out great principles, and to act upon 
them at all risks, is fatal to originality, because the faculties 
slumber within, being weighed down by the chains of custom. 
This habit of reliance on principle, should give us a buoyant 
consciousness of superiority to every outward influence. A 
far higher anticipation of great results from worthy deeds, 
should make us strenuous in action, and fill us with a cheer- 
ful trust. We must be palsied by no fear to offend, no desire 
to please, no dependence upon the judgment of others. The 
consciousness of self subsistence, of disinterested conformity 
to high principles, will command an open freedom to our 
utterances, and will summon into our service a spiritual force 
that will resist and overcome all obstacles. 

(13) 



14 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Under the inspiration of such sentiments have I penned 
the following narrative of my experiences, beneath a dark cloud 
of adverse events, whose silver lining is yet to be discovered 
to my physical vision. As the dyer uses mordants to set 
his colors, so my Heavenly Father has employed the mordant 
of adversity to individualize my sentiments of morality and 
virtuous action. And, by my experiences, it would seem, 
that my Father intended to so capacitate me, that I should 
be daunted and discouraged by nothing, that true loyalty 
might be burned into my heart. This loyalty demands that 
individual reason and conscience be the guide of human 
actions. It allows no oligarchy of creeds, sects, or customs 
to be a standard, which ignores the individual as the sove- 
reign over himself. The God within, is the monarch of this 
realm of human freedom. 



IL 
Result of Expressing my Obnoxious Tiews. 

I have been Illinois State's Prisoner three years in Jack- 
sonville Insane Asylum, for simply expressing religious opin- 
ions in a community who were unprepared to appreciate and 
understand them. I was incarcerated June 18, 1860, and 
liberated June 18, 1863. Fortunately for me, all these ob- 
noxious views were presented in writing, and are now in my 
own possession, although they were, secretly taken from me, 
at the time of my abduction, and retained for years in the 
hands of my persecutor, Rev. Theophilus Packard, who was 
at that time the r.astor of the Old School Presbyterian Church 
at Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois. 

He had been my husband for twenty-one years, and was 
the father of my six children, five of whom are boys, and one 
girl. At the time he forced me from my dear little ones, mv 
daughter was ten years old and my babe eighteen months . I was 
in perfect health and of sound mind, and cheerfully and faith- 



OBNOXIOUS VIEWS. 15 

fully performing the duties of wife and mother to the entire 
satisfaction of my family and society, so far as I know. And, 
since the only plea Mr. Packard makes in defence of this 
course is, that my religious views were dangerous to the 
spiritual interests of his children and the community, I feel 
called upon to present these views, frankly and candidly, that 
my readers may judge for themselves whether my imprison- 
ment can be justified on this basis. 

As an Introduction therefore to my "Hidden Life" in my 
prison, I shall present these views just as I presented them 
to the bible elass in Manteno, a few weeks before my incar- 
ceration. I became connected with this class at the special re- 
quest of Deacon Abijah Dole, the teacher of the class, and 
with the full and free consent of my husband. Mr. Dole gave 
as his reason for wishing me to join his class, that he found 
it impossible to awaken any interest, and he fondly hoped 
that I might bring forward some views which might elicit the 
attention he desired. 

I seated myself among his pupils, who then numbered only 
six men in all, as a sincere seeker after the truth. Mr. Dole 
allowed his pupils to be regarded as mutual teachers, so that 
all were allowed to ask questions and offer suggestions. 
Availing myself of this license, others were encouraged to 
follow my example, so that our class soon became the place 
of animating discussions, and as our tolerant teacher allowed 
both sides of a question to be discussed I found it became to 
me a great source of pleasure and profit. Indeed, I never 
can recollect a time when my mind grew into a knowledge 
of religious truths faster, than under the influence of these 
free and animated discussions. The effect of these de- 
bates was felt throughout the whole community, so that our 
class of seven soon increased to forty-six, including the most 
influential members of the community. 

About this time a latent suspicion seemed to be aroused, 
lest the church creed be endangered by this license of free 
inquiry and fair discussion ; and a meeting of some of the 
leading church-members was called, wherein this bible-class 



16 THE PRISONEE'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

was represented as being a dangerous influence, involving 
the exposure of the creed to the charge of fallibility. 
To prevent this, it was agreed that the tolerant Deacon Dole 
must be exchanged for the intolerant Deacon Smith, in order 
that free discussion might be effectually put down. And this 
Deacon Smith suggested, that the way to put down free -dis- 
cussion was, to put down Mrs. Packard. This he engaged 
to do, in case they would install him as teacher. This being 
done, the battle commenced, and I found our license had ex- 
pired with our kind teacher's resignation. Ignorant as I was of 
this conspiracy against the right of private opinions,! continued 
to use this God given right, as my judgment and conscience dic- 
tated, until I found, by open opposition, that it was the ex- 
press object of the change, to abolish all expression of any 
views which did not harmonize with the Presbyterian Church 
creed. I knew and felt that it was their determination to 
fetter me, and bring me into unquestioning acknowledgment 
of their doctrines, as the sum total of all important truths. 
Of course I could not do this, and be honest to myself; but 
from this point, I had the precaution to put into a written 
form, every idea I uttered in conflict with what Deacon 
Smith thought orthodox views, so as to avoid being misrep- 
resented, and I almost uniformly read these papers to Mr. 
Packard, before presenting them to the class, and secured 
from him his consent to my reading them. 

This digested form of presenting my ideas, tended to in- 
crease rather than diminish the interest in favor of my new 
views, so that finally after Mr. Packard had given his con- 
sent for my reading my articles, Mr. Smith would refuse to 
have them read. Up to this point, Mr. Packard acted the 
man, and the Christian, in his treatment of me. But now 
came the fatal crisis when evil influences overcame him ! 

One afternoon Deacon Smith visited him in his study, and 
held a secret interview with him of two hours length, when 
he left him a different man. That evening just before retir- 
ing to rest, he remarked in a very pleasant tone, 

"Wife, I want to talk with you a little while, come here !" 



OBNOXIOUS VIEWS. 17 

I went into his extended arms, and sat upon his lap, and 
encircled his neck with my arm, when he remarked in a 
very mild tone of voice. 

"Now wife, hadn't you better give up these bible class 
discussions? Deacon Smith thinks you had better, and so do 
some others, and I think you had better too." 

" Husband, I should be very glad to get rid of the responsi- 
bility if I can do so honorably, but I do not like to yield a 
natural right to the dictation of bigotry and intolerance, as 
Deacon Smith demands, but I am willing to say to the class 
that as Deacon Smith, and Mr. Packard, and others, have ex- 
pressed a wish that I withdraw my discussions from the class, 
I do so, at their request, not from any desire to shrink from 
investigation on my part, but for the sake of peace, as they 
view it." 

" No, wife, that won't do; you must resign yourself." 

"Won't that be resigning, and that too on a truthful 
basis?" 

"No, you must tell them it is your choice to give them 
up." 

" But, dear, it is not my choice I" 

"But you can make it so, under the circumstances." 

" Yes, lean make it so, by stating the truth; but I can't 
by telling a lie." 

"Well, you must do it!" 

"0 husband ! how can you yield to such an evil influence ? 
Only think ! Here you have pledged before God and man 
that you will be my protector, until death part us, and now 
you are tempted to become my persecutor ! Do be a man, 
and go to the class, in defiance of Deacon Smith, and say to 
the class, 'my wife has just as good a right to her opinions 
as you have to yours, and I shall protect her in that right. 
You need not believe her opinions unless you choose; but she 
has a right to defend her honest opinions as well as your- 
selves. I shall not suffer her to be molested in this right.' 
Then you will be a man a protector of your wife and you 
will deserve honor, and you will have it. But if you become 



18 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

my persecutor and go against me, asDeacon Smith desires, 
you will deserve dishonor, and you will surely get it. 
Don't fall into this fatal snare, which the evil one has surely 
laid for you." 

He construed my earnestness into anger, and thrust me 
from him, determining to risk this result at all hazards. 
From that fatal time, all good influences seemed to have for- 
saken him, and he left to pursue his downward way, with no 
power to resist evil or flee from the tempter. Reason, 
conscience, judgment, prudence, consistency and affection, all, 
all directly sunk into the fatal sletep of stupidity or death. 
From that point, I have never had a protector in my hus- 
band. He has only been my persecutor ! In a few weeks 
from that time, he forcibly entombed me within the massive 
walls of Jacksonville Asylum prison, to rise no more, 
if he could prevent it. He told me he did this, to give the 
impression that I was insane, so that my opinions need not 
be believed, for, said he, "I must protect the cause of 
Christ!" 

The following is a copy of some of the articles I prepared 
for the class, wherein my most radical opinions are delineated, 
which led to this unnatural imprisonment. 

Free Discussion of Religious Belief. 

i 

Free discussion implies that both sides of a subject can be 
investigated, and allows full liberty to each individual to ex- 
press his honestly cherished opinions, and also give his rea- 
sons in support of them. My classmates, we have nothing 
to fear in applying the scales of free discussion to our reli- 
gious belief, for truth will sustain itself ; the scales of free - 
discussion, intelligently used, always preponderate on the 
side of the truth, that is, the weightiest reasons always 
bear upon that side, and indicate a balance in its favor. For 
instance, should we wish to test the existence of a God in 
the scales of free discussion, what have we to fear in the use 
of the scales on this point? If we are not prepared to sup- 



FEEB DISCUSSION". 19 

port his existence by such arguments as will make the scales 
preponderate right, is it not best for us to bestow study upon 
that point sufficient to defend it with intelligent reason, 
since this is confidently assumed to be a truth in our creed? 
Then we shall be prepared to defend, as well as assert our 
belief. It is not respectful for us to say to our opponents on 
this or any other point, "I know your side is the wrong one, 
and you ought to take our positive assertion as authority 
sufficient to condemn you as a heretic, simply because you 
believe contrary to my honestly cherished opinions." No, 
my classmates, the religion of authority has had its day a 
reasonable religion, such as will bear the infallible tests of 
truth, based on arguments drawn from God's word and works 
is the religion for us. Truth should be endorsed by us 
through our reasoning faculties alone, and therefore should 
not conflict with our common sense and enlightened reason. 
And it is my opinion that the religion God sent to man, is so 
peculiarly adapted to man's nature, as not to conflict with 
the common-sense views of the common mass of minds. And 
ere the bright millennial day dawns upon us, I believe that 
theologically sectarian views, will give place to the common- 
sense views of mankind, and that this is to be the way there 
is to be " but one God, one faith, one baptism." 

Now, what can be the harm, dear classmates, in our trying 
to hasten this day, by bringing our educated belief to this 
test, by kindly using the scales of free discussion. For my- 
self, I feel willing to have all my opinions tested by these 
scales, and I am willing to yield any point of belief to a 
weightier invincible argument in the opposite scale that is, 
those views which seem best supported by sound argument 
and candid reasoning I willingly endorse, although they may 
conflict with some of my preconceived ideas, or my educated 
belief, or even with our sectarian creeds. For it is not im- 
possible but that some simple moral truth may have become 
perverted by educational influences. And candor and hon- 
esty, it seems to me, compel us to admit, that there is a 
mixture of truth and error in the creeds of all denominations 



20 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

of Christians, not even excepting the creed of the Presby- 
terian church ; and what can be the harm in thus testing 
these views, and thereby separating the precious from the 
vile, rather than by trying to defend our sectarian creeds", by 
arguments and reasons which are not based in truth for their 
support, thus perpetuating falsehood or errors. 

It is my desire, dear classmates, that this social bible class 
be employed as a means to fit us to become valiant defenders 
of our faith that we here capacitate ourselves to defend all 
points of our belief by rational and intelligent reasons, that 
we may be able to meet the common enemy of our holy 
religion with arguments " such as he can not gainsay or 
resist. 1 ' The truth never suffers by agitation and free dis- 
cussion. It is error alone that fears the light and shrinks 
before the scales. Let us dare to judge for ourselves what 
is right, and let us know what right and truth are, by bring- 
ing our religious belief to this test of reason and common 
sense. Let us throw off the blinding influence of prejudice 
and sectarian zeal, and come up upon the nobler, higher plat- 
form of being simple, sincere, charitable, honest seekers after 
the real, simple, naked truth. 

Having obtained permission from our teacher, Deacon 
Smith, to read the above article before the class, I com- 
menced reading; but finding it to be a defence of what he 
had determined to stop free discussion he interrupted me, 
by forbidding my reading any farther. Of course I quietly 
submitted to this mandate with unanswering obedience. 

Bights of Private Judgment. 

I profess to be no theologian, or to have adopted the creed 
of any sect or denomination of Christians as infallible. But 
I do profess to take the works and word of God, or facts and 
revelation as our only infallible guide in our search for truth, 
and a "thus saith the Lord," as a settling of all controversy. 
But since I know it to be a fact that equally sincere and 
honest Christians put a very different construction upon the 
same event of Providence, and the same text of scripture, 



PKIVATE JUDGMENT. 21 

I feel that we are compelled to assume the responsibility of 
private judgment. And in so doing, I believe we are obey- 
ing Christ's directions in the 57th verse of the 12th chapter 
of Luke, viz : "And why, even of yourselves, judge ye not 
what is right ?" 

I regard this bible class as having reached that stage of 
development where God holds us individually responsible for 
our belief. I therefore esteem it a great privilege to be in a 
bible class where our opinions are called for, rather than the 
opinions of commentators. Not that I wish to disregard the 
opinions of commentators, or learned theologians in my 
search for Bible truth ; for I do think that their opinions are 
entitled to great deference and respect. While I at the 
same time believe that the Bible is a book so peculiar in its 
nature, that learning and talent are not indispensable to a 
correct interpretation of it, any more than experience and 
education are indispensably necessary to our judging correct- 
ly of the wants of nature. For instance, because an adult 
may choose strong drink to allay his thirst, and the child 
prefer cold water, I do not think we are justified in conclud- 
ing that strong drink is the best adapted to meet the wants 
of nature, simply because a mature man chooses it ; for this 
adult may have perverted his natural appetite, so that his 
choice may not be so much in accordance with nature as the 
instincts of the child. As in our physical, so in our moral 
nature, there may be a liability that a simple moral truth 
may have been perverted by educational influences. There- 
fore, I do not think that because a talented and learned 
theologian advances an opinion, that he is certainly correct ; 
neither because an illiterate layman holds a different opinion, 
do I think he is certainly wrong. But in both cases we 
should judge of the opinion upon its own intrinsic merits, 
independent of the source or medium through which it comes 
to us. 

Now, dear classmates, conscious that I am alone and per- 
sonally responsible to God for my religious belief, I do not 
want to embrace an error. Therefore I will be very thank- 



22 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ful to be shown wherein my opinions are unsound, or my 
reasoning inconclusive. Just consider my views, not as 
those of a theologian, but as one who is searching for truth 
on the same common plane with yourselves ; and I ask you to 
give my opinions no more credence, than you think truth 
entitles them "to as you view it. For it is the common sense 
of common men and common women that I so much covet as 
my tribunal of judgment, rather than learned commentators, 
or popular theologians, or venerable doctors of divinity. 

"Total Depravity." 

It is the authority of creeds, echoed by the theologians 
and ministers of the Presbyterian pulpit, not excepting our 
own pastor, that human nature is necessarily a sinful nature. 

Now I ask the privilege of presenting to our class this 
question: "If human nature is necessarily a sinful nature, 
how could Christ take upon himself human nature and know 
no sin?" This question was referred to their pastor for an 
answer. Mr. Packard gave it as his opinion that a " Holy 
God might make a holy human nature for Christ, and a sinful 
nature for the rest of the human family." Upon this, one of 
the class inquired, " Can a holy God make sin?" 

These questions troubled both our teacher, Deacon Smith, 
and their pastor. They could not answer them satisfactorily 
to themselves or the class ; and it was to extricate them- 
selves from this unpleasant dilemma, that they at once 
agreed that this question was the result of a diseased brain, 
from whence it had emanated, and therefore it was unworthy 
of their consideration ! Thus their reputation for intelli- 
gence and ability was placed beyond question, and the infal- 
libility of their creed remained inviolate ! And their poor 
afflicted Christian sister must be kindly cared for within the 
massive walls of a prison, lest her diseased brain communicate 
its contagion to other brains, and then what will become of 
our creed ! for we cannot afford to follow the example of this 
"Man of God," and sacrifice our wives and mothers to save 
our creed 1 



TOTAL DEPRAVITY. 23 

SPARE THE CREED I 
Though the mother's heart do bleed, 
Spare, 0, spare our trembling creed I 
Though her tender infants cry, 
Though they pine, and droop, and die, 
Though her daily care they need, 
Spare, 0, spare our trembling creed ! 
Force the mother from her home I 
That once pure and peaceful dome ; 
Bind her fast with maniacs, where 
None will heed her yearning prayer ; 
Let cold bars and bolts and keys 
Fetter mothers such as these 1 
Iron manacles we need 
To protect our darling creed. 
"What are homes or children's claims ? 
What a doting mother's aims ? 
What were life, love, liberty, 
If our creed imperiled be ! 
Nothing in this world we heed, 
Like our dear endangered creed. 
Thus State power august hath wrought 
Fetters for too daring thought I 
Souls thus bold, Asylums need, 
To protect our precious creed. MRS. S. N. B. 0. 

This was the pivot on which my reputation for sanity was 
suspended ; for I could not be made to confess that God made 
a bad or sinful article when he made human nature ; but on 
the contrary, I claimed that all which God made was 
"good" that is, was just as he intended it to be; and I 
furthermore argued, that to be natural, was to be just as God 
had made me to be that to be unnatural, was to be wrong 
or sinful. I claimed that God's work, as he made it, was 
perfect it needed no regeneration to make it right that 
regeneration was necessary only when we had become unnat- 
ural or different from what God had made us. I willingly 
acknowledged that our natures in their present state, were 
perverted or depraved, in many instances to a painful degree; 
but that none are entirely lost to all traces of the divine 
image. For example, the drunkard is depraved in his appe- 



24: THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

tite for drink, and the regeneration he needs, is not a nei 
appetite but a restoration of it to its natural, original, unpei 
verted state. Then he would have only a natural appetit 
for food and drink, which is in itself no sin ; but the sin cor 
sists in his abuse of a natural instinct, not in the natural us 
of it. So that the natural exercise of our faculties, as Goi 
has made them, is not wrong, but only the unnatural o 
abusive use of them is wrong or sinful. 

The Unlimited Atonement. 

The professedly orthodox pulpit says, that " God intend 
all mankind for a life of purity, virtue and happiness." Nov 
I wish to ask, if God's intentions can be thwarted ? If the^ 
can not be thwarted, and God intended all mankind for hap 
piness, will not all men be saved ? If God intended it, am 
does not accomplish it, is he omnipotent? I believe God ii 
omnipotent that he intends nothing but good and he wil 
carry out all his intentions. I believe the devil is not om 
nipotent that he intends nothing but evil and he wil 
ultimately fail in all his intentions. 

Therefore, God's intention in sending his Son into th< 
world to redeem and save it, can not be defeated ; and whei 
he assures us in his word that he "would that all men b< 
saved," I believe that he is sincere, and thereby intends tc 
bring all men ultimately to repentance and faith in Christ 
And when he assures us that " death and hell shall be de 
stroyed," I believe it. And therefore there must ultimately 
be a time when sin and punishment shall cease to be; and as 
sin and punishment had a beginning, they must have an end, 
But as God never had a beginning, so will he never have arj 
end, but is destined ultimately, to be the mighty ponqueroi 
and head over all. 

God's Immutability. 

While Deacon Smith was our teacher, I once asked hiir 
this question, viz : "Did God change his purpose towards 
Nineveh, when he said he would destroy Nineveh and after 



BIBLE CLASS DISCUSSIONS. 25 

wards saved it, as Jonah seemed to think he did, and expos- 
tulated with him to this effect? " 

Deacon Smith replied, "He did not. God never changes 
his purposes." This I considered as a correct answer; but 
his attempt to reconcile the two facts, viz : his attribute of 
unchangeableness, and his change towards Nineveh, was not 
satisfactory. He simply remarked, " God was not obliged 
to explain his plans and operations of government to Jonah's 
satisfaction." This reason seemed to my mind to reflect a 
degree of dishonor upon the perfect character of our God. 
I believe we have a right to inquire, like Jonah, into a 
knowledge of his ways concerning us, and that we can, and 
ought, so to interpret his providences as not to reflect dis- 
honor upon his character for justice and veracity, either in 
word or action ; and I believe he is willing thus to manifest 
himself to us, and thereby convict us of pur unreasonable 
complaints against his providences towards us. I say this 
suggestion from Deacon Smith did not satisfy me, but the 
suggestion of Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Dixon did fully satisfy 
me. 

They said, " the Ninevites repented, as a reason why God's 
actions towards them changed." Here was the key which 
unlocked all the mystery. It is we that change, not God. 
He has unchangeably decreed that sin and sinners shall be 
punished. And he has unchangeably decreed to extend par- 
don and forgiveness to the repentant sinner. These two 
eternal purposes are his unchangeable decrees thus to act in 
all future time. The Ninevites knew it was so, and there- 
fore they resorted to the only possible way they could resort 
to and be saved. They repented God's immutable purpose 
stood unchanged. They were forgiven, and thus saved. 

"What is it to be a Christian? 

It is not to cease to be a sinner. "No man liveth and 

sinnethnot." All come short of perfect obedience to God's 

laws. To be a Christian is to be like Christ that is, to live 

in accordance with the laws of our being, both physical 

B 



26 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

and moral and spiritual ; but as our knowledge of these 
laws is limited, we are liable to transgress ignorantly ; but 
the Christian is willing to put on Christ's righteousness, by 
repenting of his wrong doing, and thus living like him. 
By obeying God's laws, he becomes like Christ, and thus 
puts on his righteousness. 

It is one part of my Christianity, as I view it, to obey the 
laws of health, and thus live a healthy, natural life, believing 
that is the best foundation on which to build up my spiritual 
nature. I can not conceive of a symmetrical spiritual body 
without a heal thy natural body to sustain it, anymore than I 
can expect to build a cupola without a house to rest it upon. 
" First the natural, then the spiritual," seems to be the order 
God has established to develop human beings and make them 
like Christ. The human nature must be sublimated into the 
divine nature ; or in other words, the lower, animal propen- 
sities must become only the servants of the higher, spiritual 
faculties, instead of being their masters as they now are, in 
their present depraved or unnatural condition. 

Freedom of Conscience. 

Conscience is God's vicegerent in the soul. To heed the 
voice of conscience is to heed the voice of God. I never 
dare to do what I conscientiously believe to be wrong ; 
neither will I be deterred from doing what I conscientiously 
believe to be right, impossibilities of course excepted, for 
God never requires of us impossibilities. 

I regard my conscience as a safe guide for myself, there- 
fore I allow it so to others ; while at the same time I believe 
it is only safe when it is based upon truth; and to me, the 
truth must be base^l upon God's revealed will, as I view it in 
God's word and works, and is thereby identified with the 
Bible. But I do not regard my views of truth as a standard 
for any other human being but myself; therefore I do not 
feel at liberty to judge any other's conscience than my own. 
I cheerfully assume the entire responsibility of my own ac- 
tions, viewed from my own standpoint; but I am not willing 



SPIRITUAL GIFTS. 27 



to take the responsibility of any other's actions, viewed from 
their standpoint. We must all stand or fall for ourselves in 
judgment. Therefore, I claim Freedom of Conscience for 
all the human family equally with myself. 

Spiritual Gifts. 

The following article was prepared for the class, but was 
refused a hearing lest it be found to favor Spiritualism . 

I differ from Deacon Merrick in the opinion that those 
spiritual gifts mentioned in the 12th chapter of 1st Corin- 
thians viz : the gifts of healing, working of miracles, proph- 
ecy, discerning of spirits, interpretation of tongues, the 
word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge, etc., were 
confined to the apostolic age. But it is my opinion that they 
are the legitimate fruits of pure Christianity, and attendant 
upon it to the end of time. Christ says, " these signs shall 
follow them that believe." Faith is evidently the stock on 
which these gifts are grafted, and I believe this is a kind of 
faith which it is our duty to cultivate and exercise to the 
same degree that the apostles did. And my reasons for this 
belief are supported by facts and revelation, as I view it. 

FIRST. The Bible supports this opinion. Christ instructed 
us to exercise a kind of faith, which he compares in power to 
that of "removing mountains," and also, "if ye had faith as 
a grain of mustard seed ye might say to this sycamore tree, 
be thou plucked up by the roots, and be thou cast into the 
sea, and it shall obey you." Now these illustrations evi- 
dently seem to teach that in the exercise of this faith we 
may expect effects to be produced beyond what our reason 
alone would justify us in expecting. Again, in James it is 
said, " the prayer of faith shall save the sick." And again, 
" all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye 
shall receive." 

Now will it be uncharitable in me to suggest that the faith 
of the orthodox churches of the present day may be like unto 
the faith of the woman who was told she could have whatever 
she asked for, believing she should have it. Shortly after she 



28 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

wanted something very much, and so prayed for it to get it, 
but it did not come. Chagrined at her failure, she remark- 
ed indignantly, "I knew it would not come when I asked 
for it 1 " Now may not Christians ask like this woman, 
cfo'sbelieving, instead of believing they shall have them? 

SECOND. The proof of facts that this faith was not con- 
fined to the apostles first, the Bible fact. James directs 
the churches to call for the elders of the church ''to come 
and anoint the sick man with oil, and to pray over him, and 
the prayer of faith shall save the sick." These elders who 
had this power were not the apostles. And Joel prophesies 
of the last days, "your sons and your daughters shall proph- 
esy." From this it seems there is to be a time in the future 
when pure, simple Christianity, like that which the apostles 
taught, is to prevail again upon the earth, and then these 
gifts are to follow as the fruit of this simple faith; thus 
showing' that this faith was not to be confined to the apostles, 
but was intended to be the natural heritage of the church 
whenever she became pure enough to produce this vigorous 
growth of faith required to ensure these manifestations. 
This faith was taught by Christ and exemplified by himself 
and the apostles. 

Again, all the Christian fathers, certainly down to the end 
of the third century, affirm the continuation of these gifts ; 
and they maintain their assertion by well authenticated facts 
in church history. But in succeeding ages, when the mass 
of Christians had become corrupted by worldly materialism 
and carnal-mindedness, these gifts became more and more 
rarely manifested, and were mostly confined to the humble 
few who adhered more tenaciously to the primitive faith and 
practice. Yet instances have occurred among some dis- 
tinguished teachers of Christianity. So late as the year 1821 
Rev. Prince Hohenlhe, of Worburg, Germany, a distinguish- 
ed divine, after preaching to immense crowds, commenced to 
perform miracles. To the astonishment of the populace, he 
made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, 
and the paralytics to be cured ; and in a short time, no less 



SPIRITUAL GIFTS. 29 

than thirty-six persons were restored to health, from a state 
of hopeless infirmity. This he did by his prayers and a firm 
confidence in God's power. 

Another fact nearer home. About twenty years since I 
heard of a woman in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, who ex- 
hibited the power of discerning spirits, by telling at first 
sight the true character of entire strangers, as correctly as if 
she had always known them. But to come still nearer home. 
Have we not seen those who could instinctively read persons 
at first sight? and others who have a kind of prevision of 
what is about to take place, and they even act upon it with 
a kind of certainty that it would take place, for their ex- 
perience had assured them that it could be relied upon as 
prophetic. 

I once heard of a physician who had this foresight to such 
a degree as enabled him, in many instances, to save life, by 
acting in accordance with it. For instance, he once, while 
riding home, felt an impression that he was needed in a cer- 
tain street ; and following the impression, he went directly 
there, and found a man who had just been thrown from his 
horse, and in such a situation that unless surgical help were 
immediately applied, he must have died. And many times 
had he left his bed at midnight to visit his patients, guided 
only by these impressions, and thus saved the lives of many 
of his patients. 

This kind of discernment is a gift higher than reason; and 
may it not be possible that they are of the nature of these 
spiritual gifts, and are but the incipient developments of a 
law of our spiritual nature as yet undeveloped, on which 
these gifts are founded, which is to be the fulfillment of Joel's 
prophecy? 

OBJECTION FIRST. Mrs. Dixon objected that since the pow- 
er of working miracles is included among these gifts, she 
concluded they must be confined to the apostolic age, since the 
day of miracles is past. I reply, if the term miracle must 
mean only a suspension of a law of nature, or contrary to na- 
ture, I think with her, that the day is past for such manifes- 



80 

tations. But, if it may bear the interpretation which men of 
talent and ability put upon it viz : that a miracle signifies, 
and implies a supernatural power, meaning a power acting in 
harmony with a higher than natural, law, I think they may, and 
still do continue. The law by which these supernatural events 
takes place, is unknown to us, and may be beyond our present 
ability to comprehend. For example, had we never seen or 
known that a caterpillar could be changed into a butterfly, 
we should call it a miracle. The facts occurring daily on 
the telegraphic wires would have been considered miracles 
to past generations. So of eclipses, which were regarded as 
miracles, until the law of eclipses was discovered. And I 
think it will continue to be a fact, that supernatural events 
will continue to take place, because they are the result of 
laws on a plane of which we are as yet ignorant. I believe 
these spiritual gifts are all controlled by established laws of 
our spiritual existence, of which we are at present compara- 
tively ignorant. I fully believe God never acts except in 
harmony with established laws, and is never compelled to 
break these laws to bring about his purposes. 

OBJECTION SECOND. Deacon Merrick objected, that if this 
was the true view, all who believe must have this power ; 
and since none do have it as he thought, therefore there can 
be no true Christianity in the church. 

I reply, that I do not thiiik this a legitimate conclusion 
that because all do not have this power, therefore none do. 
Would Deacon Merrick say that because all the blossoms of 
the apple tree do not perfect into perfect, sound, ripe apples, 
therefore none do; or that there are no apples at all? Or 
would he rather say, that each blossom has in it the germ of 
the mature, sound apple, which will naturally be developed 
into fruit, unless some accident occurs to prevent it ? So all 
who have any degree of saving faith, have that in them 
which will ultimately perfect into this vigorous faith, and 
bring forth some of these perfected fruits or spiritual gifts. 
This faith is the natural outgrowth of human nature that 
is, it has that universal principle of human nature, viz : trust 



SPIEITUAL GIFTS. ^31 

or confidence, for its foundation to rest upon. "We can no 
more get faith without this principle of human nature to 
build it upon, than we can get apples without soil to support 
the tree ; and no more is the soil a sinful article because it is 
natural, than is human nature sinful because it is natural. 
Both the nature, and the precious spiritual fruits germinated 
upon it, are parts of God's well done work, and therefore are 
both equally good in their places. But for lack of proper 
cultivation this kind of fruit is rarely brought to perfection 
in this life. 

Another illustration. I once heard the Rev. Mr. Cooper, 
a Presbyterian minister, of Salem, Iowa, relate the following 
fact, which took place when he served on board a vessel, on 
the coast of Norway : His captain found himself utterly 
unable to navigate his ship through a very dangerous chan- 
nel between an island and the main land. A pilot on board 
seeing the very dangerous condition they were in, volun- 
teered his services to the captain, assuring him he could take 
the ship safely through. The captain accepted the offer, 
although not without some misgivings as to the ability of 
this stranger pilot. But confident he could not guide it him- 
self, he felt compelled to accept the offer. Consequently he 
resigned his ship entirely to this pilot's control, and direc-ted 
his men to follow all this new pilot's directions. 

The pilot accepted his charge, and commenced by revers- 
ing all the captain's orders, and headed the ship towards the 
breakers on shore. This aroused the captain's fears. Still 
he could do nothing but submit. But very soon his fears 
became so much aroused, in view of their approach towards 
the breakers, that he ventured to tell his pilot that they 
were going into the breakers. "I know it," was his only 
reply, and still approached the breakers. The captain ex- 
postulated with him three times ; and each time received the 
same answer, " I know it ! " . For a time the captain paced 
the deck in agony, wringing his hands, until at length be- 
coming desperate, he determined to take the ship into his 
own hands, confident that his professed pilot was unworthy 



32 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

of confidence, and was just in the act of doing so, when, 
behold! the pilot turned the ship about, and soon brought 
it out of all danger. 

He afterwards found that the pilot had turned the ship at 
just the point, and the only point, where it could be done 
without being wrecked, for there was a narrow channel of 
rocks beneath, which the pilot knew how to follow ; but the 
least deviation from that course would have been destruction 
to the ship, and an attempt to turn before the right point was 
reached would have been not only impossible, but certain 
destruction. 

Now this captain had only just faith enough in his pilot to 
save him. He did not have that degree of faith needed to 
raise him entirely above his fears, in view of dangers so ap- 
parent to his reason. This degree of faith demanded the 
exercise of even a higher faculty than his reason, for it appar- 
ently conflicted with reason. But gospel faith in its highest 
exercise, never conflicts with reason, although it sometimes 
transcends reason. But the different gradations of faith, 
from the mere saving faith to that all conquering faith, which 
allays all anxiety and solicitude, under the most adverse 
circumstances, depends upon the different organizations and 
surroundings which determine its development and growth. 
And all these manifold variations and gradations are ulti- 
mately to perfect into that sound and vigorous faith which 
Christ inculcated, and is the stock upon which all these 
spiritual gifts germinate into natural fruit. 

Questions for the Class. 

The following are some of the questions I proposed to the 
class for discussion, some of which were allowed to be dis- 
cussed, and many were not : 

1. Do true Christians ever die with unrepented sins upon 
them? 

2. Does death, which is merely a natural law of the body, 
affect the spirit ; or does the extinction of merely animal life 
produce any change in our spiritual life ? 



QUESTIONS FOR THE CLASS. 3S 

3. Is it not the spirit that repents? 

4. Why then cannot the spirit repent when disconnected 
from the body ? 

5. Does truth ever change? 

6. Can people have a difference of opinion on the same 
subject, and yet all be correct? 

7. What causes this diversity of belief? 

8. Will all equally good people see the truth in just the 
same light ? 

9. How ought we to treat those who we think teach error? 

10. Should we accede to the errorist the same right of 
opinion we do the advocates of truth? 

11. Are we to expect new moral truths to be developed 
at the present day, since the canon of scripture is complete ? 

12. Does progress in knowledge necessarily imply a change 
of views ? 

13. Is not the platform of common sense the platform for 
a common religion to stand upon ? 

14. Are bigotry and intolerance confined to any one church, 
or is this " Great Beast" found in all churches? 

15. Can there be <( one Lord, one faith, one baptism," 
without a mutual yielding of sectarian views among all de- 
nominations of Christians ? 

16. Have we any reason to expect that a Christian farmer, 
as a Christian, will be any more successful in his farming op- 
erations than an impenitent sinner? or, in other words, does 
the motive with which we prosecute our secular business, 
have anything to do with the pecuniary results ? And if not, 
how is godliness profitable ? 

If any of my readers would like to see my answer to the 
sixteenth question, I could refer them to my " Three Years' 
Imprisonment for Eeligious Belief," where they will find it 
on the thirty-third page. In that book the reader will also 
find a full account of my jury trial before Judge Starr, of 
Kankakee City, where my sanity was vindicated ; and my 
persecution is there demonstrated to be the triumph of big- 
otry over the republican principles of free religious toleration. 
B 2 



84 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

This trial was not allowed me until after an inprisonment of 
three years, when, by the decision of the court, it was found 
that I had not been insane, and thereby had been falsely im- 
prisoned all this time. The way in which my incarceration 
was secured will be found in the subsequent chapter. 



III. 

My Abduction. 

About three weeks before my incarceration, Mr. Packard 
came to my room one day, and made me another proposition 
for withdrawing from the class. Said he, " Wife, wouldn't 
you like to visit your brother in Batavia ? " 

" I should like it very well, if it is not running from my 
post of duty." 

" You have not only a perfect right to go, but I think it 
is your duty to go and get recruited." 

"Very well, then I will go with the greatest pleasure. 
But how long do you think I had better make my visit?" 

" Three months." 

" Three months I Can you get along without me three 
months ? and what will the children do for their summer 
clothes without me to make them?" 

" I will see to that matter ; you must stay three months, 
or not go at all." 

""Well, lam sure I can stand it to rest that length of 
time, if you can stand it without my services. So I will go. 
But I must take my baby and daughter with me, as they 
have not fully recovered from their influenzas, and I should 
not dare to trust them away from me." 

"Yes, you may take them." 

" I will then prepare myself and them to go just as soon 
as you see fit to send us. Another thing, husband. I shall 
want ten dollars of my patrimony money to take with me 
for spending money." 



MY ABDUCTION. 35 

"That you can't have." 

"Why not? I shall need as much as that, to be absent 
three months with two sick children. I may need to call a 
doctor to them; and besides, my brother is poor, and I am 
rich, comparatively, and I might need some extra food, such 
as a beefsteak, or something of the kind, and I should not 
like to ask him for it. And besides, I have your written 
promise that I may have my own money whenever I want it 
and I do want ten dollars of it now ; and I thinK it is nr 
unreasonable amount to take with me." 

"I don't think it is best to let you have any. I shanM 
trust you with money." 

" Shan't trust me with money I Why not? Have I ever 
abused this trust? Do not I always give you an exact 
account of every cent I spend ? And I will this time do so ; 
and besides, if you cannot trust me, I will put it into broth- 
er's hands as soon as I get there, and not spend a cent but 
by his permission." 

"No, I shall not consent to that." 

"One thing more I will suggest. You know the Batavia 
people owe you twelve dollars for preaching one sabbath, 
and you can't get your pay. Now, supposing brother ' duns' 
and gets it, may I use this money if I should chance to need 
it in an emergency ? and if I should not need any, I won't 
use a cent of it ? Or, I will write home to you and ask per- 
mission of you before spending a dollar of it." 

" No, you shall neither have any money, nor have the con- 
trol qf, any, for I can't trust you with any." 

" Well, husband, if I can't be trusted with ten dollars of 
my own money under these circumstances, I should not think 
I was capable of being trusted with two sick children three 
months away from home, wholly dependent on a poor broth- 
er's charities. Indeed I had rather stay at home and not go 
at all, than go under such circumstances." 

" You shall not go at all," replied he, in a most excited, 
angry tone of voice. "You shall go into an Asylum I" 

" Why, husband, I did not suspect such an alternative. I 



36 

had rather go to him penniless and clotheless even, than go 
into an Asylum !" 

" You have lost your last chance. You shall go into an 
Asylum ! " 

Knowing the inflexibility of purpose which characterized 
rny husband, I knew there was no refuge for me in an appeal 
to his humanity, his reason or his affection, for a commuta- 
tion of my sentence. I therefore laid my case before our 
kind neighbor, Mr. Comstock, who professed to be a kind of 
lawyer, and sought his counsel and advice. Said he, "Mrs. 
Packard, you have nothing to fear. It is impossible for 
your husband to get you into any insane asylum; for before 
he can do this, you must have a jury trial ; and I can assure 
you there as no jury in the country who would pronounce 
you to be an insane person, for you give every evidence of 
intelligence that any person can give." 

As this Mr. Comstock had been a constant attendant at 
our bible class for some time past, and had thereby heard and 
seen all the evidence which could be brought against me ; 
and as he professed to understand the law on this point, this 
unqualified and positive assertion served to quiet my fears 
and anxious foreboding to a considerable degree. But had 
Mr. Comstock known the law as it then was, he could not 
have made this assertion. He probably took it for granted 
that the common principles of justice characterized the Illinois 
statue laws, viz : that all its citizens should be allowed a 
trial before imprisonment ; but being mistaken on this point, 
he blindly led me astray from the truth. 

Had I known what Mr. Packard knew, of the legal power, 
which the law gave the husband to control the identity of 
the wife, I should not have been thus deceived. I did not 
then know what I now do, that married women and infants 
were excepted in the application of this principle of common 
justice. This class were not only allowed to be imprisoned 
by their husbands or guardians without any trial, or without 
any chance at self-defence whatever, but they were also ex- 
pressly licensed to imprison them in an insane asylum without 



MY ABDUCTION. 37 

evidence of insanity ! This legal license reads thus, as 
found on the Illinois Statute Book, page 96, Session Laws 
15, 1851, Section 10: "Married women and infants who, 
in the judgment of the medical Superintendent (meaning the 
Superintendent of the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane,) 
are evidently insane or distracted, may be entered or detained 
in the hospital on the request of the husband of the woman, 
or the guardian of the infant, without the evidence of insanity 
required in other cases." 

Not knowing that Illinois had legalized this mode of kid- 
napping the married women of their State, I had no idea 
that my personal liberty depended entirely upon the will or 
wishes of my husband. I thereupon returned to my home 
with a feeling of comparative security, trusting and suppos- 
ing that upon the principles of our free government of religious 
toleration, my rights of conscience, and rights of opinion 
were respected and protected by law, in common with other 
American citizens. Still, believing that a most strenuous 
effort would be made to fasten the stigma of insanity upon 
me, by my opponents in religious belief, I now began to con- 
sider what my plea of self-defence must be when arraigned 
for trial on insanity, based upon what they regarded as 
heresy. 

But while my mind was cogitating my plea, and my hands 
were busily employed in my domestic duties, I could not help 
noticing many singular manifestations in Mr. Packard's con- 
duct towards me. One was, from the time my sentence was 
pronminced, Mr. Packard left my bed without giving me any 
reason for this singular act, and he seemed peculiarly deter- 
mined to evade all, and every inquiry into his reasons for so 
doing. Still I insisted upon knowing whether it was because 
of anything I had done, which led him thus to forsake me. 
He assured me it was not adding, "you have always been 
kind, and true and faithful to me." While this truthful 
acknowledgement, afforded a kind of relief to my feelings, it 
only served to increase the mystery of the affair still more, 
and even to this day this mystery has never been solved in 



88 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE 

my mind. The only reason lie ever gave me was, " I think it 
is best!" 

Another thing, he removed my medicine box, containing 
our family herbs and cordials, from my nursery into his sleep- 
ing apartment, and when I found it necessary one night to 
give my little Georgie some lobelia to relieve him from spas- 
modic croup, I was obliged to seek for it, and finding it under 
his bed instead of its accustomed place, I inquired why he had 
made that arrangement, and received the same mysterious re- 
ply, "I think it is best !" 

Another thing, he seemed unaccountably considerate of my 
health, insisting upon it that I should have a hired girl to help 
me. This arrangement surprised me, all the more, because I 
had so often been refused this favor, when I had asked for it 
at times when I thought I needed it within a few past years. 
I however found it very easy and pleasant to concur with this 
arrangement, which afforded me more uninterrupted time and 
thought to devote to my plea. But there was one thing about 
it which I did not like, and that was, to dismiss my girl, just 
when I had got her well learned how to do my work, without 
giving any reason whatever, either to me or my girl, for this 
strange conduct. I5ut I afterwards found out the reason for 
dismissing her was, because she had remarked to a neighbor of 
ours that ; "I can't see what Mr. Packard does mean by calling 
his wife insane; for she is the kindest and best woman I ever 
saw I never worked for so kind a mistress." 

But his summary manner of disposing of my good, kind, 
faithful French Catholic girl, and supplying her place%with 
one of his own church members, an opponent to me in argu- 
ment, and she the eldest daughter of the most aristocratic 
family in the place, was very peculiar. This aristocratic, 
Miss Sarah Rumsey, was introduced into my family as a dinner 
guest, on whom I bestowed all the attentions of the hostess 
until after dinner, when my girl came to the parlor to bid me 
" good bye," saying with tears, " Mr. Packard has dismissed 
me." " Dismissed you 1 For what ?" 

"I dont know he simply told me to get my things and 



MY ABDUCTION. 39 

leave, that my services were no longer wanted in his family." 

While I was trying to comfort her under this uncivil dis- 
charge, Miss Rumsey stepped up and volunteered her services 
as "my help." 

" My help ! have you come here to be my hired girl ?" said I, 
in amazement. 

"Yes, I am willing to help you." 

"But I wish to understand you has Mr. Packard secured 
your services as my hired servant?" 

"Yes, Mrs. Packard, I have come for that purpose?" 

"Very well, then, I will set you to work, and you may look 
to him for your wages." 

She then followed me into the kitchen, where I gave her my 
instructions, and then I retired to my parlor, leaving her to 
take her first lesson in practical service in her beloved pastor's 
kitchen. 

During her term of service, which lasted until I was kid- 
napped, about one week from this time, I frequently caught 
Mr. Packard and Miss Rumsey and Mrs. Sybil Dole, his sister, 
in most earnest conversation, which was always carried on in 
a whisper whenever I was within hearing distance, and my 
presence seemed always to evoke manifestations of guilt on 
their part. I think the theme of conversation at these clan- 
destine interviews was, my abduction and how it should be 
secured. 

My children now became almost my only companions and 
councillors. The three youngest slept with me, so that I had 
their company both night as well as day. I expressed to them 
my fears that I might yet be forced away from them, always 
assuring them that no power but force should seperate me from 
them. They always responded, "they will have to break my 
arms to get them loose from their grasp upon you, Mother, if 
they try to steal our dear mamma from us!" But the filial in- 
fluence Mr. Packard most feared to cope with, was my second 
son, I. "W. Packard, then sixteen years old. My oldest son 
Theophilus, was then at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. I. W. commu- 
nicated to Theophilus the dangers he feared impending over 



40 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

his mother. Theophilus responded, pledging himself that 
should his dear mother ever be put into an Insane Asylum, he 
should never rest until he had liberated her. I. W. agreed to 
this same pledge of untiring devotion to his dear mother's 
welfare. 

During these ominous days of solicitude and painful forebo- 
dings, this tender hearted and devoted son would never leave 
for his work in Mr. Comstock's store, without first coming to 
my room, and as he would imprint a most loving kiss upon my 
lips, he would whisper " dont feel bad, mother 1 keep up good 
courage, I shall do all I can for you." 

% And he did do all he could to stem the rising current, by 
rallying influences in my defence. Quite a number of volun- 
teers gave him their pledge that his mother never should leave 
that depot for an Insane Asylum ; but unfortunately, his fath- 
er became acquainted with this fact, and to prevent any co- 
operation with his mother in the execution of any of his plans 
for my deliverance, he issued his mandate that I. "W. should 
not speak to his mother for one week. Not knowing that 
such an injunction had been laid upon him, I accosted him 
from my window on his return from his store, and, as usual 
inquired after his health. He had been my patient Tor some 
weeks past, having spit blood several times during this time, 
and of course I felt a deep solicitude for his health ; and now 
when he answered me only by the pressure of his fore finger 
upon his closed lips, and a significant shake of his head, I be- 
came alarmed, and anxiously inquired, "can't you speak?" A 
shake of the head was his only response. I rushed to the door 
to meet him, to ascertain what had happened, where we met 
my only darling daughter of ten years, whom we all called 
" Sister," to whom he said, " Sister, I want you should tell 
mother that father has forbid my speaking to her for one week, 
and that is the reason 1 can't answer her questions." 

" But how is your breast, my son?" 

" Sister, I want you should tell mother it is worse ; I have 
spit more blood to-day." 

In this manner, with my daughter for our medium, I ad- 



MY ABDUCTION. 41 

ministered to his physical wants and spiritual comfort for 
one week, which term expired one day before my abduction. 
During this time he never failed to come to my room or to 
the window, before leaving, to bestow upon my lips his lov- 
ing kiss of silent, xmdying affection. 

s\ A few days previous to my seizure, Mrs. Dole and Mr. 
Packard tried to prevail upon me to let her take my darling 
babe home with her for a few days, to rest me from my night 
watches with my sick children, to which I foolishly consented, 
supposing this offer was only dictated by affection and sym- 
pathy for me. I soon became impatient for my babe, and 
Mr. Packard allowed me to go to Mr. Dole's with him to see 
Arthur, but would not allow me to bring him home with me. 
They must keep him a day or two longer 1 I must consent 
to take a few more nights of good sound sleep before I could 
embrace my darling babe once more ! Alas ! this was the 
final parting with my precious darling infant, weaned from 
the breast but three months before. His little arms could 
hardly be unclasped from my neck, to which he seemed to 
cling instinctively ; with the tenderest affection he would 
press his soft cheek against mine, and say, "dear mamma! 
dear mamma !" These were the only words he could articu- 
late. 01 little did I suspect this was a treacherous act of 
false affection, to steal from me my darling babe. But so it 
proved to be. 

This was Saturday. On Sabbath they stole from me my 
only daughter, by a similar act of hypocrisy. After meet- 
ing Sabbath evening, the Rumsey carriage called at our door 
and claimed the privilege of taking my daughter home with 
them to visit her intimate friend and schoolmate, the young- 
est Rumsey. They plead that her health needed a change, 
and she could come home any day I chose ; and in answer 
to my inquiry, "Hasthis anything to do with my being taken 
off?" they all with united voices, insisted that it had not, 
adding, " this is not our most distant thought." 

I at length reluctantly consented to her going, and we too, 
parted for the last time before my abduction, little suspecting 



42 THE PKISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

it to be so. But as we were embracing each other for the 
.ast time, she whispered in my ear, " Mother, if there are 
any signs of taking you away, you will let me know, won't 
you?" 

"Certainly I will, my daughter, you may rely upon your 
mother's promise in this thing. So set your heart at rest, 
and enjoy yourself as best you can." And we parted! 

That night I had no one to caress but my darling Georgie, 
of seven years, who was now nearly recovered from his lung 
fever. But from some unknown cause, sleep was not easily 
courted that night. Usually my sleep was sound, quiet and 
refreshing. Sleepless, wakeful nights were unknown to me. 
But now some evil forebodings assured me all was not right. 
About midnight I arose and silently sought Mr. Packard's 
room, to see if I could make any discoveries as to the aspect 
of things. Here instead of being in his bed, I found him 
noiselessly searching through all my trunks and bandboxes. 
"What could this mean? Without his observing me, I went 
oack to my bed, there to consider this question. 

Before morning my suspicions assumed a tangible form. I 
summoned I. W . early to my bedside, to tell him I was sure 
arrangements were being made to carry me off somewhere, 
and therefore I wished him without delay to go and get 
" Sister" home, as I had promised to send for her in case of 
any appearances of this kind. He replied, " Mother, I will 
do so ; but I must first go of an errand on to the prairie for 
Mr. Comstock, and then I will return to the house and take 
you to ride with me to Mr. Rumsey's and get Sister." 

"Yes, that will do; we will go by brother Dole's too, and 
get my baby. I will be all ready when you return, to go 
with you." This was our parting I 

Little Georgie, ever ready to serve me, ran out into the 
dewy grass and picked a saucer of ripe strawberries and brought 
them to my room, saying as he handed them to me, "I have pick- 
ed some strawberries for your breakfast, mother;" and he had 
lardly time to receive his mother's thanks, when his father called 
-.im out to the door, and with extended hand said, "Come, 



MY ABDUCTION. 43 

George, won't you go with father to the store and get some 
sugar-plums?" 

Glad as any boy of his age is to get sugar-plums, he of 
course, readily went with his father to get his plums, and 
also to get a ride too with his brother off on to the prairie ! 
This was our parting scene I 

Thus had my children been abducted, to prepare the way 
for the mother's abduction, on the morning of the 18th of 
June, 1860. And now the fatal hour had come that I must 
be transported into my living tomb. But the better to 
shield himself in this nefarious work, Mr. Packard tried to 
avail himself of the law for commitment in other cases, which 
is to secure the certificate of two physicians that the candi- 
date for the Asylum is insane. Therefore at this late hour I 
passed an examination made by our two doctors, both mem- 
bers of his church and our bible class, and opponents to me 
in argument, wherein they decided that I was insane, by 
simply feeling my pulse 1 

This scene is so minutely described in the " Introduction to 
my Three Years' Imprisonment," that I shall not detail .it 
here. The doctors were not in my room over three minutes, 
conducting this examination, and without asking me a single 
question, both said while feeling my pulse, "She is insane!" 

My husband then informed me that the " forms of law" 
were now all complied with, and he now wished me to dress 
for a ride to Jacksonville Insane Asylum. I complied, but 
at the same time entered my protest against being imprisoned 
without a trial, or some chance at self-defence. I made no 
physical resistance however, when he ordered two of his 
church-members to take me up in their arms, and carry me to 
the wagon and thence to the cars, in spite of my lady-like 
protests, and regardless of all my entreaties for some sort of 
trial before commitment. 

My husband replied, " I am doing as the laws of Illinois 
allow me to do vou have no protector in law but myself, and 
I am protecting you now ! it is for your good I am doing this, 
I want to save your soul you don't believe in total depravity, 
and I want to make you right." 



44 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

"Husband, have I not a right to my opinions?" 
" Yes, you have a right to your opinions, if you think right." 
" But does not the constitution defend the right of religious 
toleration to all American citizens?" 

" Yes, to all citizens it does defend this right, but you are 
not a citizen ; while a married woman you are a legal nonen- 
tity, without even a soul in law. In short, you are dead as 
to any legal existence while a married woman, and therefore 
have no legal protection as a married woman." Thus I learn- 
ed my first lesson in that chapter of common law, which 
denies to married woman a legal right to her own identity or 
individuality. 

IT. 

My Abduction Continued. 

The scenes transpiring at the parsonage, were circulated 
like wild-fire throughout the village of Manteno, and crowds 
of men and boys were rapidly congregating at the depot, about 
one hundred rods distant from our house, not only to witness 
the scene v but fully determined to stand by their pledge to my 
son, I. W., that his mother should never leave Manteno depot 
for an Insane Asylum. 

The long two horse lumber wagon in which I was conveyed 
from my house to the depot, was filled with strongmen as my 
body guard, including Mr. Packard, his deacons, and Sheriff 
Burgess, of Kankakee city among their number. When our 
team arrived at the depot, Mr. Packard said to me, "Now, 
wife, you will get out of the wagon yourself, won't you? You 
won't compel us to lift you out before such a large crowd, 
will you?" 

" No, Mr. Packard, I shall not help myself into an Asylum. 
It is you who are putting me there. I do not go willingly, 
nor with my own consent I am being forced into it against 
my protests to the contrary. Therefore, I shall let you show 
yourself to thia crowd, just as you are my persecutor, instead 
of my protector. I shall make no resistance to your brute 
force claims upon my personal liberty I shall simply remain 
a passive victim, helpless in your power." He then ordered 



MY ABDUCTION. 45 

his men to transport me from the wagon to the depot in their 
arms. 

Before this order was executed, I addressed the sheriff in 
these words, "Mr. Burgess, won't you please have the kind- 
ness to see that my person is handled gently, for I am easily 
hurt, and also see that my clothing is so adjusted as not to 
expose me immodestly, which with my hoops I fear you will 
find some difficulty in doing." 

"I will heed your requests, Mrs. Packard," he kindly re- 
plied. He then ordered two men into the wagon, to lift me 
from the board seat, which was placed across the top of the 
wagon, and hand me over the wheel, gently down into the 
arms of two men, who stood with outstretched arms below to 
receive me, and transport me into the "Ladies' Room" at 
the depot. This order was executed in as gentle and gen- 
tlemanly a manner as it could be done, while the faithful 
sheriff carefully adjusted my clothing as best he could, and I 
was landed upon a seat in the "Ladies' Room." I then 
thanked Mr. Burgess and my carriers for the kind manner in 
which they had executed my husband's order ; and they left, 
me alone to join the crowd on the platform. I then arose, 
adjusted my dress and walked to the window, to see who 
were there assembled. I saw they were my friends and foes 
both, about equally divided, the countenances of all equally 
indicating great earnestness and deep emotion. 

Soon Mr. Packard came alone into the room, and I resumed 
my seat when he addressed me as follows : Bending over me, 
he spoke in tones the most bland and gentle, and said, " Now, 
wife, my dear 1 you will not make us carry you into the cars, 
will you? Do please just walk into them when they come, 
won't you, to please me ! Do now, please me this once ; 
won't you ?" 

Looking him full in the face, I said, " Mr. Packard, I shall 
not. It is your own chosen work you are doing. I shall not 
help you do it. If I am put into the cars, it will not be my 
act that puts me there." He then left me, and soon returned 
with Mr. Conistock at his side, when he said, "Now, wife. 



46 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Mr. Comstock thinks you had better walk into the cars, and 
you know you think a good deal of him ; you will follow his 
advice, won't you?" 

" Mr. Comstock is too much of a man to advise me to leave 
my dear little children, to go and be locked up in a prison 
without any trial. I know he would not advise any such 
thing," said I. 

Mr. Comstock then, without having spoken one word, left 
the room. While these scenes in the Ladies' Room were 
being enacted, Deacon Dole was acting his part on the plat- 
form outside. Finding the crowd had assembled to defend 
me, and that they were determined I should never be forced 
into the cars, his conscience allowed him to be the bearer of 
a lie from Mr. Packard to the company, on the plea that the 
interests of his beloved pastor and the cause of the church 
required it as an act of self-defence. He therefore positively 
told them that Mr. Packard .was pursuing a legal course in 
putting his wife into an Asylum that the Sheriff had legal 
papers with him to defend the proceeding, and if they resisted 
the Sheriff, they would be liable to imprisonment themselves. 
The crowd did not know that Deacon Dole was lying to them, 
when he said the Sheriff had legal papers; for he had none at 
all, as the Sheriff afterwards confessed adding, " I went to 
the Probate Court to take out my legal papers, and they 
would not give me any, because, as they said, I could not 
bring forward any proof of insanity which could satisfy them 
that Mrs. Packard was insane. Therefore I ventured to 
carry out Mr. Packard's wishes without any papers!" 

Thus the "majesty of 'the law," added to the sacred dig- 
nity of the pulpit, so overawed this feeling of manliness in 
these Mantenoites, that they dared not make a single effort 
in defence of me. Therefore, when the engine whistle was 
heard, Deacon Dole found no obstacle in the way of taking 
me up in his arms, with the help of another man, and carry- 
ing me from the depot to my seat in the cars, except tho 
difficulty of knowing how to take hold of me in a modest and 
gentlemanly manner. I, however, soon solved this difficulty 



MT ABDUCTION. 47 

for him, lay suggesting that two men make a " saddle-seat" 
with their four hands so united, that I could sit erect and 
easily upon it, between them both. This, with my assistance, 
they promptly did, and I quietly seated myself, while Mr. 
Burgess kindly arranged my wardrobe for me. While borne 
along on this human vehicle, by my manly ( ! ) body guard, 
my elevated position afforded me a fine view of the sea of 
heads below me ; and while I imploringly and silently looked 
towards them for that protection and help they had so con- 
fidently volunteered should be extended to me if needed, I 
looked in vain! "No man cared for my soul!" although 
Mrs. Blessing was walking the platform, wringing her hands 
in agony at the spectacle I presented, and in a loud voice, 
while the tears were streaming down her cheeks, she was 
imploring them to extend to me the help I needed, in these 
expressive words: "Is there no man in this crowd to pro- 
tect this woman? Will you let this mother be torn from her 
children and thrust into a prison in this style, with none to 
help her ? ! is there no man among you ? If I were a man, 
I would seize hold upon her." 

MRS. BLESSING'S LAMENT. 

One, one alone, stood by my side, 

With pleading hands and voice she cried, 
" Is there no help ? Can no one here 

Aid now our suffering sister dear ? 

Breathes there not here one mother's son 

Who dares to aid this injured one ? 

Must she from her own sons be torn, 

Her darling children left to mourn ? 

Crying in vain for mother dear 

To wipe away the scalding tear. 

Are love and honor both, all dead? 

Oh neighbors I has your reason fled ? 

Can you look and see her go 

To the dark maniac's house of woe? 

Yet raise no voice, no hand, no eye, 

To stay that dread calamity 1 

Throbs here no heart of sympathy ? 

Can no one say she shall be free ? 

Oh ! in the sacred name of love, 



48 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Of liberty, of God above, 
By all the tender ties of life, 
Spare 1 spare ! that deeply suffering wife. 
Recording Angel ! cans't thou see 
A blacker shade of cruelty." MRS. S. N. B. 0. 
As soon as I was landed in the cars, the car door was quick- 
ly locked, to guard against any possible reaction of the public, 
manly pulse, in my defence. Mr. Packard, Deacon Dole, and 
Sheriff Burgess seated themselves near me, and the cars qui- 
etly moved on towards my prison tomb, leaving behind me, 
children, home, liberty and an untarnished reputation. In 
short, all, all, which had rendered life desirable, or tolerable. 
Up to this point, I had not shed a tear. All my nervous 
energy was needed to enable me to maintain that dignified 
self-possession, which was indispensably necessary for a sensi- 
tive womanly nature like my own, to carry me becomingly 
through scenes, such as I have described. But now that these 
scenes were past, my hitherto pent up maternal feelings burst 
their confines, and with a deep gush of emotion, I exclaimed, 
" ! what will become of my dear children 1" I rested my 
head upon the back of the seat in front of me, and deliberate- 
ly yielded myself up to a shower of tears. ! thought I, 
"What will my dear little ones do, when they return to their 
desolate home, to find no mother there ! their tender, lov- 
ing hearts, will die of grief, at the story of their mother's 
wrongs !" 

Yes, it did well nigh rend each heart in twain, when the 
faot was announced to them, that they were motherless ! My 
sons, I. "W., and George were just about this time returning 
from their prairie errand, ai>d this fact was now being com- 
municated to them, by some one returning from the depot, 
whom they met near the same. When within speaking dis- 
tance, the first salutation they heard was, "Well, your mother 
is gone." 

"What? 1 ' said I. W., thinking he had misunderstood. 
"Your mother is gone!" 

Supposing this was only an old rumor revived, he carelessly 
replied, "No she isn't, she is at home, where I just left her, 



MY ABDUCTION. 49 

and I am now on the way there to take her to ride with me." 

"But she has gone I just came from the depot, and saw 
her start." 

Now, for the first time, the terrible truth flashed upon his 
mind, that this is the reason George and I have been sent off 
on this errand, and this accounts also, for the attentions so 
lavishly bestowed upon us this morning by my groom, by my 
father, and by Mr. Comstock. Yes, this awful fact at last 
found a lodgment in his sensitive heart, when he, amid his 
choking and tears could just articulate, "George ! we have no 
mother." 

Now George, too, knew why he had been so generously 
treated to sugar-plums that morning, and he too burst into 
loud crying, exclaiming, "They shall not carry off my mother." 

"But they have carried her off! We have no mother!" 
said I. "W. Here they both lifted up their voices and wept 
aloud, and as the team entered the village, all eyes were 
upon them, and others wept to see them weep, and to listen 
to their plaintive exclamations, "We have no mother I We 
have no mother 1" As they drew near the front of Mr. 
Comstock's store, seeing the crowd settling there, I. W. felt 
his indignation welling up within him, as he espied among 
this crowd some of his volunteer soldiers in his mother's de- 
fence, and having learned from his informant that no one had 
taken his dear mother's part, he reproachfully exclaimed, as 
he leaped from his wagon, "And this is the protection you 
promised my mother ! What is your gas worth to me ! " 

They felt the reproaches of a guilty conscience, and dared 
not attempt to console them. Mr. Comstock was the only 
one who ventured a response in words. He said, " You 
must excuse me, I. W., for I did what I thought would be 
the best for you. I knew your father was determined, and 
he would put her in at any rate ; and I knew too, that your 
opposition would do no good, and would only torment you to 
witness the scene. So I had you go for your good !" " For 
my good !" thought he, "I think I should like to be my own 
C 



50 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

judge in that matter !" He spoke not one reproachful word 
in reply, but quickly sought his mother's room, where he 
might weep alone. 

But George, knowing the direction the cars went with his 
mother, ran on the track after them, determined he never 
would return until he could return with his mother rescued 
from prison 1 He was not missed until he was far out of 
hearing, and almost out of sight he only looked like a 
small speck on the distant track. They followed after him; 
but he most persistently refused to return, saying, " I will 
get my dear mamma out of prison I My mamma shan't be 
locked up in a prison ! I will not go home without my 
mother! " 

He was of course forced back, but not to stay only until 
he could make another escape. They finally had to imprison 
him my little manly boy of seven years, to keep him from 
running two hundred miles on the track to Jacksonville, to 
liberate his imprisoned mother ! 

But 0, my daughter ! no pen can delineate thy sorrow, to 
find thy mother gone ! perhaps forever gone I from thy com- 
panionship, counsel, care and sympathy ! She wept both 
night and day, almost unceasingly ; and her plaintive moans 
could be heard at quite a distance from her home. "0! 
mother ! mother ! mother ! " was her almost constant, un- 
ceasing call. Her sorrow almost cost her her reason and her 
life. And so it was with I. ~W. He grieved himself into a 
settled fever, which he did but just survive ; and during its 
height, he moaned incessantly for his mother, not knowing 
what he said ! His reason for a time was lost in delirium. 

But my babe, thank God ! was too young to realize his 
loss. For him, I suffered enough for two human beings. 

Here we leave these scenes of human anguish, to speak 
one word of comfort for the wives and mothers of Illinois. 
Conscious that there had already been innocent victims 
enough offered in sacrifice on the altar of injustice, in conse- 
quence of these cruel laws of Illinois against my ojvn sex. 
I determined to appeal, single handed and alone, if neces 



MY JOUKNEY. 51 

sary, to their Legislature, to have them repealed, and there- 
by have the personal liberty of married women protected by 
law, as well as by the marital power. Consequently, in the 
winter of 1867, I came alone, and at my own expense, from 
Massachusetts to Illinois, and paid my board all winter in 
Springfield, Illinois, trying to induce the Legislature to re- 
peal the barbarous law under which I was imprisoned, and 
pass in its stead a ''Bill for the Protection of Personal Lib- 
erty," which demands a fair jury trial of every citizen of the 
State, before imprisonment in any Insane Asylum in the 
State. The Legislature granted my request. They repealed 
the barbarous law, and passed the Personal Liberty Bill, by 
an unanimous vote of both houses. So that now, no wife or 
mother in Illinois need fear the re-enacting of my sad drama 
in her own case ; for, thank God ! your personal liberty is 
now protected by just laws. 

Y. 
My Journey. 

Sheriff Burgess left our company at Kankakee City, twelve 
miles distant from Manteno, where he then resided. Not 
knowing at that time, but that he had the legal papers Dea- 
con Dole claimed for him, in taking leave of him I thanked 
him for the kind and gentlemanly manner he had discharged 
his duties, as a Sheriff, in this transaction, adding, "You have 
only discharged your duty, as a Sheriff; .therefore, as a man, 
I shall claim you as my friend." And, six months from this 
date, when he called upon me in my Asylum prison, and 
inquired so kindly and tenderly after my comfort and sur- 
roundings, I felt confirmed in my opinion that I had not mis- 
judged him. Not long after he died, but not until after he 
had frankly confessed his breach of trust, as a public officer, 
in this transaction. 

As my wounded heart still sought the relief of tears, I con- 
tinued to weep on, and at length I ventured to express my 
sincere, deep anxiety, lest my children would not be able to 



52 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

survive their bereavement. Mr. Packard and Mr. Dole then 
both tried to console me, by assuring me they were left with 
kind friends who would take good care of them, and Mr. 
Packard said he had left a written document for each of them, 
which he thought would satisfy them, so that they would 
''soon get over it !" thought I " soon get over it !" what 
consolation ! to be told that your children would soon forget 
you 1 Nay, verily, I am too indelibly united to their heart's 
tenderest, deepest affections, to suffer an easy or rapid alien- 
ation. And so it proved for three years this cruel wound 
in their sensitive hearts remained unhealed they instinctive- 
ly and persistently spurned the mollient he offered to heal it, 
viz ; " their mother was insane, and therefore must be locked 
up for her good." 

I have been told they would give expression to their feel- 
ings in language like the following, and it being (so character- 
istic of their natures, I have no doubt of its truth. 

" No," Georgie would say, " mother is good enough now I 
and haven't I a right to my mother?" 

"No," Elizabeth would say, "mother is not crazy, and 
you know she is not I do think Pa is possessed with a devil, 
to treat our good, dear, kind mother as he does. We know 
our dear mother is good, for she never has done anything 
wrong she is kind to you, and she is kind to everybody." 

The natural, unsophisticated natures of my children, ren- 
dered it very difficult for them to see the necessity of locking 
up a person, while they were doing good, and had never done 
any thing wrong ! 

The philosophy of that kind of insanity, which required 
this to be done, was beyond their comprehension. And even 
the maturer minds of my oldest sons, Theophilus, then eigh- 
teen, and I. W., sixteen, were equally slow in discovering 
this necessity. In fact, three years was too short a time for 
their father to convince these children of this painful necessity. 
At length, wearied with these fruitless efforts to get my 
children to sanction his cause, he finally resorted to the au- 
.thority of the father to silence them into acquiescence to his 



MY JOUKSTEY. 53 

views. He therefore forbade their talking upon the subject, 
and made it an act of disobedience on their part, to talk about 
their mother. This taught them to use hypocrisy and deceit, 
for I. "W., and Elizabeth would watch their opportunity, in 
the absence of their father, to talk upon their favorite theme, 
and when Elizabeth and Georgie could not evade this order by 
day, they would take the hours of sleep and talk in a whisper 
about me, after they had retired to their bed. 

Another agency he employed to wean them from me, was, 
he would not allow me to be spoken of in their presence, 
except as an insane person, and in terms of derision, ridicule, 
or contempt. But notwithstanding all these combined agen- 
cies, he could not wean them from me, or lessen their confi- 
dence in me, according to his own statement, which he mado 
to Mrs. Page on one of his yearly visits to the Asylum. 

Some years after this date he said, " I never saw children 
so attached to a mother, as Mrs. Packard's are to her I can- 
not by any means wean them from her, nor lead them to 
disregard her authority in the least thing, even now. I cannot 
even induce them to eat anything which they think she would 
disapprove of. She seems by some means, to hold them to 
obedience to her wishes, just as much in her absence, as in her 
presence. This influence or power is more than 1 can under- 
stand." 

Yes, I knew full well that Mr. Packard did not understand 
the nature and disposition of my children, and therefore I 
felt unwilling to trust them with him. But how could I avert 
this fate? In no way. I had not chosen this separation 
God's providence had permitted it against my wishes, and 
regardless of my prayer to the contrary. Now, what shall 
I do ? Shall I murmur and complain at what I can not help, 
and when I know it will do no good? or, must I silently sub- 
mit to this inevitable fate, and trust to the future develop- 
ments of providence to unravel this great mystery ? Yes, I 
must submit. I must not complain, while at the same time, 
I have a right to use all suitable means for a restoration to 
my family and duties; therefore as the result of this soliloquy, 



54 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I concluded to avail myself of the advice given me by my 
Manteno friends at the depot, viz : "Be sure, Mrs. Packard, 
and tell every one you see that you are on your way to the 
Insane Asylum, and for what, for possibly by this means, you 
may come in contact with some influence that may rescue 
you." Knowing that duties were mine ; and events God's, 
I determined to dry up my tears and address myself to this 
duty. 

I announced this determination to Deacon Dole in these 
words : " Mr. Dole I am not going to cry any more. Cry- 
ing is not going to help me. I am going to put on a cheerful 
countenance, and cultivate the acquaintance of my fellow 
travelers, and enjoy my ride the best I can. I may as well 
laugh as cry, for I have as good a right to be happy as any 
other person." 

" That is right, Sister Packard ; you have as good a right 
to be happy as any one, and I -am glad to see you smile 
again." 

After exchanging a few remarks respecting the beauty of 
the country through which we were passing, and the delight- 
fully calm and clear atmosphere, so tranquilizing in its influ- 
ence over one's disturbed feelings, I looked about to see who 
were my companions, when I met the eye of a young lady, a 
stranger to me, whose eyes seemed to fasten upon me with 
such a penetrating look, that I could hardly withdraw my 
own without bestowing upon her a smile of recognition. 
Upon this she bent forward and spoke to me, and extended 
tome her hand, saying, "I am very sorry for you. I see 
they are carrying you to the Insane Asylum, and you do not 
wish to go." 

" Yes, that is so, and I thank you for your sympathy; but 
I have concluded not to weep any more about it, as I shall 
need all my nervous energies to meet my fate with dignity 
and self-possession." 

" But you are not insane, why do they put you there ?" 

*' No, I am not insane, but my husband is trying to put this 
brand upon me, to destroy my moral influence." 



MY JOURNEY. 55 

"But why does he wish to destroy your influence?" 

" Because I have defended some opinions in a bible class, 
where he is the minister, which he can not overthrow by 
argument, and now he tells me he is going to make the world 
believe that I am insane, so that my opinions need not be 
believed, for he says he must ' protect the cause of Christ.' " 

" Don't he think it his duty to protect his wife ?" 

" He thinks it is his duty to protect her from injuring the 
cause of Christ, by locking her up in a prison 1" 

" I heard you speak of your children ; how many have you?" 

" Six five boys and one girl." 

"Six children ! and he, their father, taking from them their 
mother, simply because you differ from him in opinion ! 0, 
'tis too bad I how I pity you !" 

At this point, she burst into tears, and resting her head 
upon the back of my seat, she cried and- sobbed until she had 
completely drenched her pocket-handkerchief, when I handed 
her one of my own and she drenched that also " 0," she said, 
" you must not go ! you are too good a woman to be locked 
up in an Insane Asylum." 

I tried to console her, by telling her I felt it would all come 
out right at last that all I had to do was, to be patient and 
do right. 

She then put her arm around my neck and kissed me, say- 
ing, "How I wish I could help you ! I will do all I can for 
you."' 

She then left her seat and brought back another lady, whom 
she introduced as one who wished to talk with me. Prom 
her I learned that the sympathy of the passengers was with 
me that some had thought of volunteering in my defence, 
and this feeling was now gaining strength by the influence of 
my first friend's conversation amongst them. I saw groups 
of gentlemen evidently talking together about me some con- 
versed with me, and I had my hopes somewhat raised that 
something would be done t.o restore me to my children, and 
by the time the cars reached Tolono, I felt I was amongst 
friends, instead of strangers. 



56 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Mr. Packard could not but see that the tide was against 
him, for he sat by my side and listened most attentively to 
every word, and when opportunity presented, he aimed by 
self-vindication to counteract every hopeful influence from 
taking possession of my mind, by such remarks as these, "You 
say, wife, that the Lord prospers those whose ways please him; 
now, judging by this test, who is prospered in their plans, you 
or I ? you see 1 succeed in all I undertake, while all your ef- 
forts are defeated. Now isn't the Lord on my side ?" 

"The time hasn't come to decide that question by this 
test, this is only the beginning, not the end of this sad drama. 
You may be prospered by having your way for a time, only 
to make your defeat all the more signal I do not think it is 
certain the Lord is not on my side, simply because I am not 
now delivered out of your power. God has a plan to be ac- 
complished, which requires all this to take place in order to 
its ultimate success. But I can't see what that plan is, nor 
why my sufferings are necessary to its accomplishment. But 
God does, and that faith or trust in the rectitude of his plans, 
keops my mind in peace even now. Neither do I think it is 
certain the Lord is on your side, because you have been per- 
mitted to have your own way in getting me imprisoned. The 
end will settle this question." 

Another attempt at self-vindication appeared in the follow- 
ing conversation said he, " You think a great deal of your 
father, and that what he does is right ; now I want to show 
you that he upholds me in doing as I now am, and approves 
of the course I am now pursuing, and here is a letter from 
your own dear father confirming all I have said." 

As he said this, he handed me an open letter in my father's 
own hand-writing, saying, "Here, read for yourself and see 
what your father says about it." 

"No," said I, shaking my head, "I do not wish to read 
such a letter from my father, for it would be a libel upon his 
revered memory. I know too, that if he has written such a 
letter a? you represent, he has had a false view of the case 
presented to him. My father would never approve of the 



MY JOURNEY. 67 

course you are pursuing, if he knew what the truth is respect- 
ing it. You have told him lies about me, or you never would 
have had his approval in putting me into an Asylum." 

Still he persistently urged me to read the letter, so I could 
judge for myself. But I would not. This was the only kind 
of consolation he attempted to offer me. 

We dined at Tolono, where I had the good fortune to be 
seated by the side of a very intelligent gentleman, at the 
head of the table, whom I afterwards found to be the general 
freight agent, who boarded there at that time. He sat at 
the end of the table, I sat next him on the side, and Mr. 
Packard next to me. This gentleman, in a polite, gentle- 
manly manner, drew me into a free and easy conversation 
with himself, wherein I freely avowed some of my obnoxious 
views, and my progressive reform principles, respecting the 
laws of health, physical development, etc. 

He expressed his high appreciation of my views and prin- 
ciples, and remarked, " These have been exactly my views 
for a long time, and now I am happy to find one woman who 
is willing to endorse and defend them, and who can do so 
with so much 'ability." The entire attention of our table 
guests seemed centered upon our conversation, for all ap- 
peared to be silent listeners, and none seemed to be in any 
haste to withdraw the cars giving us ample time for a full 
and leisurely taken meal. I noticed one of the female 
waiters, a very intelligent looking lady, seemed almost to 
forget her duties, so eager was she to listen to every word 
of our conversation. 

After retiring with my husband to the sitting room, I 
recollected the instructions given me to tell all where I was 
going, had been disregarded at the table, where I ought to 
have replied to the gentleman's compliment, by saying, "I 
am happy to have your approval, sir, for it is for avowing 
these views and principles that I am called insane, and am 
now on my way to Jacksonville, to be entered as an inmate, 
to suffer the penalty of indefinite imprisonment for this daring 
act ; and this, sir, is my husband, Rev. Theophilus Packard, 



58 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

of Manteno, who is now attending me there." This thought 
did flit across my mind at the table, but the habitual practice 
I had acquired of shielding, instead of exposing my husband, 
led me to resist this suggestion of self-defence and wise coun- 
sel. I saw now my error in yielding, thus foolishly, to this 
feminine weakness, and I, like Peter, went out, not "to weep 
bitterly," but to seek to make the best atonement I could for 
this sin. I sought and found that listening female waiter, 
and asked her who that gentleman was with whom I held my 
conversation at the table. She told me. " Will you please 
deliver this message to him? Tell him the lady with whom 
he conversed at the table is Mrs. Packard, and that the 
gentleman by her side was her husband, a minister, who is 
taking her to Jacksonville, to imprison her for advancing 
such ideas as he had so publicly endorsed and approved at 
the table." 

The woman looked at me in amazement, and exclaimed, 
"You are not going into the Asylum !" 

" Yes, I am. This very night I shall be a prisoner there." 

"But you must not go! You shall not go! Come and 
consult the landlady she may hide you." 

As she said this, she took me by the hand, and led me to 
an open door, where, from the threshold, she introduced me 
to a very kind looking lady, in these words : " This is the 
lady I told you about, and her husband is taking her to the 
Insane Asylum ; can't you help her?" Looking at me for a 
moment in amazement, she said : " Yes, I will. Come with 
me and I will hide you." 

" No, my kind friend, it will be of no avail. My husband 
has the law on his side, and you can not protect me." 

"But I will try. You must not go into an Insane Asylum. 
Come ! and I will shield you." 

As she said this she extended to me her hand, while the 
tears of real sympathy were coursing down her cheek. I 
replied, "0 ! sister, I thank you for your kindness and sym- 
pathy. But don't distress yourself for me. I shall be sus- 
tained. I feel that God's providence overrules all, and I 



MY RECEPTION. 59 

know God will take care of me and my children." Just 
as I finished this sentence, Mr. Packard stood by my side, 
and he with a most respectful bow said, " Wife, will you go 
with me to the parlor?" I quietly took his arm, and bowing 
to my would be protector, walked with him to the parlor, 
where I remained seated by his side until the cars arrived, 
when I took his arm and went into them, and we were again 
on our way to Jacksonville. Here I met again my valiant 
female defender, who informed me that her advisers had de- 
cided that there was no way to rescue me from my husband's 
hands ; but that it was certain that a lady like myself would 
De retained at the Asylum but a very short time, and would 
soon be restored to my children and liberty again. After 
thanking her most cordially, for her help and sympathy, we 
kissed and parted, never to meet again, unless in the un- 
known future. Now my 'last hope died within me, and as 
the gloomy walls of my prison could be but indistinctly defined 
by the gray twilight of a summer evening, I held on to my 
husband's arm, as he guided my footsteps up the massive 
stone steps, into my dreary prison, where by lamplight he 
introduced me to Dr. Tenny, the Assistant Superintendent, 
to be conducted by him to my lonely, solitary cell. 



VI. 
My Reception. 

Yes, here within these prison walls, my husband and I 
parted, as companions, forever he was escorted to the "guest 
chamber," while I, his constant companion of twenty-one 
years, was entrusted to the hands of my prison keeper to be 
led by hirn to find my bed and lodging, he knew not where, 
and to be subject to insults, he knew not what. 

While he was resting on his wide, capacious, soft, luxurious 
bed, in the stately airy apartment of the Asylum guests, he 
did not know that the only place of repose provided for his 



60 THE PKISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

weary wife was a hard narrow settee, with no soft pillows to 
rest her weary head upon. But he did know I had no darling 
babe at my side, but, solitary and alone I must compose my- 
self to sleep, not knowing at what hour of the night my room 
might be entered, nor by whom, or for what purpose for the 
key of my room was no longer in my own, nor my husband's 
hands, but in the hands of stranger men, and his wife entirely 
at their mercy. 

Yes, this is all the protection I got from the one, for whom 
I left all to love, cherish and make happy, in return for his 
promised protection, with all the trusting confidence of wo- 
man. 1 never doubted but he would protect my virtue and 
my innocence. Yes, I trusted too, he would be the protector 
of my right of maternity also, for the dear children I had 
borne him. 0, could I sleep amid these turbid waters, whose 
surging billows so mercilessly swept over my soul thoughts 
such as these? But one thought there was, more dreadful to my 
sensitive feelings than all others now these dear children, 
these dear fragments of myself, must even bear the dismal, 
dreadful taint, of hereditary insanity, for their mother now 
lodges amid the hated walls of an Insane Asylum, as an in- 
mate, and Oh ! to whom can their mother now look for pro- 
tection ? To whom shall I make complaint if insulted ? Oh, 
to whom? I can not write a letter unless it is inspected by 
my men keepers. "Why is this? Is it because they intend 
to insult me, and deprive me of my post-office rights to shield 
and hide their own guilt? But can I not hand a letter clan- 
destinely to the Trustees, as they pass through ? If I could do 
such a thing, and entered a charge against their Superintend- 
ent, would this be hee;ded? "Would not this Superintendent 
deny the truth, and defend his lie by the plea, that his accuser 
is insane, and this is only one of the fancies of her diseased 
brain ? 

Yes, yes, there is no man, woman, or child or law, who 
now can care for my soul, or protect my virtue. And yet, 
while I am an American citizen, lam excluded, without trial 
from society, and then denied any protection by law of one 



MY FIRST DAY. 61 

of my inalienable rights. I am not only outlawed, but I am 
absolutely denied all and every means of self-defence, no mat- 
ter how criminal, nor how aggravated the offence may be. 

My womanly nature does call for, and need some refuge to 
flee to, either to the law, or to man. But here, I have neith- 
er. Should my keeper chance to be a bad man, 1 have no 
refuge but my God to flee too therefore, into Thy hands do 
I commit my body for safe keeping this night. My spirit, 
and the future of my earthly destiny, I have long since com- 
mitted to Thy care, and now protect my body from harm, and 
give me the sleep my tired nature needs, and thus prepare 
me to bear the trials of to-morrow, as well as I have those of 
to-day, and Thou shalt have the honor of delivering me from 
the power of my adversaries. May no sin be ever suffered to 
have dominion over me. 

With these thoughts, I fell into a quiet sleep, from which I 
awoke not until the morning of my first day in the Asylum 
dawned upon me. 



TIL 
My First Day of Prison life. 

At an early hour, I arose from my settee-bed, first kneeled 
before it, and thanked my kind Father in Heaven for the re- 
freshing sleep I had enjoyed, and asked for sustaining grace 
for the duties of the day. To prepare myself for these duties 
I took my sponge bath, as usual, since Mrs. De La Hay, my 
attendant, had, at my request, furnished me a bowl from her 
own room, towels, etc., so that I could take my bath in my 
room, as this had long been a habit, I very much wished to re- 
tain while there. I soon found that she had especially favor- 
ed me in granting this request, since it is the general custom 
there, to have all the ladies perform their morning ablutions 
in the bath room, and I could not learn that any, except my 
attendant, approved of washing all over, daily in cold water, 



62 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

as I did. And, as a general thing, their toilet had to be pre- 
pared before the same common mirror in the bath room. 
Therefore I requested Mr. Packard to furnish my room with 
a bowl, and pitcher, and a mirror, which he accordingly did, 
and before another night, I had a bed prepared like the other 
prisoners, which was a comfortable, narrow mattress bed, on 
a narrow bedstead. Mrs. De La Hay had done the best she 
could the night before, to accommodate me, since the beds in 
the Seventh ward were all occupied when I arrived. 

After finishing my toilet in my room, with the aid of my 
own brushes and combs and small mirror, which my traveling 
basket contained, I was invited out to my breakfast with the 
other prisoners. At my request my attendants introduced 
me to my companions, most of whom returned my salutation 
with lady like civility. Our fare was very plain and coarse, 
consisting almost entirely of bolted bread and meat, and tea 
and coffee. But as I drank neither tea nor coffee, I found it 
rather dry without any kind of vegetables, not even pota- 
toes, and sauce or fruits of any kind. As my diet had con- 
sisted of Graham bread, fruits and vegetables, to a great 
extent, I felt quite apprehensive lest my health would ma- 
terially suffer from so great a change. Mr. Packard did not, 
however, now seem to care any more what his wife had to 
eat, than where she had to sleep, for so long as he stayed at 
the Asylum he was the table guest of Dr. McFarland, whose 
table was always spread with the most tempting viands and 
luxuries the season or the markets could afford. Mr. Packard 
did not even allow me the honor of an invitation to sit with 
him at this table ; although the night before, a special meal 
had to be ordered for us both, he took his at the Doctor's 
table, while I had to be sent to the ward, to eat my warm 
biscuits and butter there alone. 

I felt these indignities, these neglects, these inattentions, 
just as any other affectionate, sensitive wife would naturally 
feel under such circumstances. But, for twenty-one years 
I had been schooling myself to keep under subjection to my 
reason and conscience, the manifestation of those indignant 



MY FIRST DAY. 63 

emotions which are the natural, spontaneous feelings which 
such actions must inevitably germinate in a true, confiding 
wife. Therefore I made no manifestation of them under 
these provocations. At a very early period in my married 
life, had I learned the sad truth that it was impossible for 
Mr. Packard to appreciate or understand my womanly nature; 
therefore I had habituated myself to the exercise of charitable 
feelings towards him in my interpretation of such manifes- 
tations. I had tried to school myself to believe that his 
heart was not so much at fault as his education, and there- 
fore, I could sincerely pray the Lord to forgive him, for he 
knows not what he does he does not know how to treat a 
woman. I knew that the least manifestation of these indig- 
nant emotions would be misconstrued by him into feelings of 
anger, instead of a natural, praiseworthy resentment of 
wrong doing. And the laudable manifestation of these 
feelings under such circumstances, would tend to lessen, 
instead of increasing my self-respect. He held me in such 
relation towards himself as my father did towards himself, 
so that any resistance of his authority was attended with the 
same feeling of guilt which I would have felt in resisting my 
father's authority. And I, like a natural child, had always 
felt an almost reverential respect for my father's authority, 
and nothing to me seemed a greater sin than an act of diso- 
bedience to his commands ; my conscience even demanded 
that I yield unquestioning submission to even the denial of 
my most fondly cherished hopes and anticipations. 

Mr. Packard had been introduced into our family when I 
was but ten years old, and he had been my father's ministerial 
companion for eleven years, and when I married him he had 
been my lover or suitor for only a few months. Previous to 
this time I had only looked upon him as my father's com- 
panion and guest, but never as even a social companion of 
his daughter, who had always been taught to be a silent 
listener to her father's social guests. 

This parental training of reverential feeling towards 
father's ministerial guests, had capacitated me to become an 



64 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

unresisting victim to Mr. Packard's marital power or author- 
ity. And as Mr. Packard's education had led him to feel 
that this marital authority was the foundation stone of the 
marriage union, he, of course, conscientiously claimed, what 
I was too willing to grant, viz : subjection to his will and 
wishes. 

But undeveloped as I then was, my true nature instinctively 
revolted at this principle as wrong ; but wherein, it was then 
difficult for me to demonstrate, even to my own satisfaction. 
But I can now see that my nature was only claiming its just 
rights, by this instinctive resistance to this marital authority. 
It was the protection of my identity or individuality which I 
was thus claiming from my husband, instead of its subjection, 
as he claimed. The parental authority, I admit, has a sub- 
jective claim, to a degree ; but the marital has only the 
authority of protection. I believe that the moment a hus- 
band begins to subject his wife, that moment the fundamental 
law of the marriage union is violated. Both parties are 
injured by this act the husband has taken the first step 
towards tyranny, and the injured wife has inevitably taken 
her first step towards losing her natural feeling of reverence 
towards her husband. Slavish fear is conjugal love's antag- 
onistic foe the purest and most devoted woman's love 
vanishes before it, as surely as the gentle dew vanishes 
before the sun's burning rays. Fortify this love ever so 
strongly, this principle of slavish subjection will undermine 
and overthrow the most impenetrable fortresses, and take 
the victim captive at its will. So had my conjugal love 
been led into a most unwilling captivity by my husband's 
tyranny, and all the charitable framework which woman's 
forgiving nature could throw around it, could not prevent 
this captivity, nor redeem the precious captive, so long as the 
tyranny of subjection claimed its victim ! But to the triumph 
of God's grace I can say it, that during these twenty-one 
years of spiritual captivity, I do not know that I ever spoke 
a disrespectful word to my husband. I endured the soul 
agonies of this blighting, love strangling process silently, 



MY FIRST DAY. 65 

and for the most part uncomplainingly. I could, and cheer- 
fully did do my duty to this usurper, as I would have done 
to a husband. But these duties had to bo done from the 
dictates of settled principle, rather than from the impulse of 
true conjugal love. 

I hope my impulsive readers will now be prepared to un- 
derstand that it is not because I did not feel these insults 
that I did not resent them ; but I had not then reached that 
stage of womanly development where I had the moral cour- 
age to defend myself by asserting my own rights. This 
stage of growth was indeed just dawning upon me ; but 1 
the dense clouds attending this dawning of my individual 
existence ! I had indeed practically asserted one of these 
inalienable rights, by not yielding my conscience and opinion 
to the dictates of creeds or church tyranny. Yes, I had 
maintained my rights of conscience in defiance of the marital 
power also. And this, too, had been the very hinge on which 
my reputation for sanity had been suspended. As Mr. 
Packard expressed himself, "Never before had Elizabeth 
persistently resisted his will or wishes a few kind words 
and a little coaxing would always before set her right ; but 
now she seems strangely determined to have her own way, 
and it must be she is insane." 

Thus in my first struggle after my independence, I lost my 
personal liberty. Sad beginning ! Had it not been better for 
me to submit to oppression and spiritual bondage, rather than 
have attempted to break the fetters of marital and religious 
despotism ! No, I cannot feel that I have done either myself, 
or others, the least wrong, in the course I have thus far taken ; 
therefore I have no recantations to make, and can give no 
pledges of future subjection to either of these powers, where 
their claims demand the surrender of my conscience to their 
dictation. And this is what they call my insanity, and for 
which I was sent to the Asylum to be cured. I think it will 
be a long time before this cure will be effected. God grant 
me the quietude of patient endurance, come what will, in the 
stand I have taken. 



66 THE PRISONEE'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

"While these, and similar reflections were passing through 
my mind, the door of rny cell was opened by a fine looking 
gentleman in company with Mr. Packard, to whom he intro- 
duced me, as Dr. McFarland, the Superintendent. He had 
but just returned from a journey East, so that Dr. Tenny, 
the Assistant, received me. Dr. McFarland politely invited 
me to accompany them to the "reception room." I gladly 
accepted this invitation to be restored to the civilities of 
civilization, even temporarily. I seated myself upon the 
sofa by Mr. Packard's side, and -the Doctor- took the big 
rocking chair, directly in front of us, and opened an interest- 
ing and pleasant conversation, by narrating incidents of his 
eastern journey. In a very easy and polite manner he led 
on the conversation to other points and topics of interest at 
the present day, and finally to the progressive ideas of the 
age, even to religion and politics. He very gallantly allowed 
me a full share of the time to express my own thoughts, 
while Mr. Packard sat entirely speechless. 

As the tone and spirit of the conversation rendered it 
proper, I recollect I made a remark something like this : "I 
don't know why it is, Doctor, it may be merely a foolish 
pride which prompts the feeling, but I can't help feeling an 
instinctive aversion to being called insane. There seems to 
be a kind of disparagement of intellect attending this idea, 
which seems to stain the purity and darken the lustre of the 
reputation forever after." 

" No, Mrs. Packard, this is not necessarily so ; even some 
of the most renowned and gifted minds in the world have been 
insane, and their reputations and characters are still revered 
and respected, such as Cowper and Tasso, the greatest poets 
in the world, and many others." 

I made no plea of defence in favor of my sanity, and par- 
ticularly avoided any disparaging or criminating remarks 
respecting Mr. Packard, but simply let the conversation take 
the direction the Doctor dictated. But, as I then thought 
fortunately for me, he introduced no topic where I felt at 
any loss what to say, to keep up an intelligent interchange 



MY FIRST DAY. 67 

of thought and expression. In short, this interview of an 
hour or more, was to me a feast of reason and a flow of soul, 
and it seemed to be equally so to the Doctor, unless my 
womanly instincts very much deceived me. When I. was 
returned to my ward, and behind the fatal dead lock, dining 
with the insane, I must confess I did feel more out of my 
proper place, than I did while in the reception room of refined 
society. 

After noticing the manner in which the institution was 
conducted for the three succeeding years, I found that the 
interview I had had with the Doctor was a most uncommon 
occurrence. Indeed, I never knew of a single instance 
where any other patient ever had so fair an opportunity of 
self-representation, by a personal interview upon their re- 
ception into the Asylum, as he had thus allowed me. They 
are usually taken, forthwith, from their friends in the recep- 
tion room, and led directly into the ward, as Dr. Tenny had 
done by me the night before. But unlike my case afterwards, 
there they were left to remain indefinitely, so far as an 
interview with the Doctor was concerned. Many patients 
were received and discharged, while I was there, who never 
had five minutes conversation with the Doctors while in the 
Asylum. Often the new arrival would come to me and 
inquire, " When am I to have an examination?" I would 
reply, " You never have an examination after you get here, 
for the Doctor receives you on the representation of those 
who want you should stay here." 

"But I never had any examination before I came, and 
even did not know where I was being brought, until I got 
here, and then my friends told me I should have an examina- 
tion after I arrived." 

" I believe you are speaking the truth ; for public senti- 
ment seems to allow, that one whom any one wishes to regard 
as insane, may be deceived and lied to to any extent with 
impunity ; and besides, the blinded public generally sup- 
pose that the inmates do all have to pass an examination 
here before they are received, which is not the fact. They 



68 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

take it for granted that all are of course insane, or they 
would not be brought here, as Dr. Tenny said of me to Mrs. 
"Waldo, in reply to her inquiry, ' Dr. Tenny, do you call 
Mrs. Packard an insane person?' 'Of course I do, or she 
would not be brought here,' was his reply. And then the 
outsiders say, 'Of course they are insane, or they would not 
have been received.' Thus our insanity is demonstrated 
beyond a question !" 

After dinner I saw from the grated window of my cell, the 
Asylum carriage drive up in front of the steps, when Mr. 
Packard was politely handed in, and the carriage drove off. 
Upon inquiry, I found he had gone to ride, to see the beauties 
of the scenery about Jacksonville, and the public buildings 
and handsome residences. "Oh," thought I, "why could ho 
not have invited me to ride with him ? And how could ho 
seek comfort for himself, while he left his wife a7nid scenes 
of such wretchedness?" 

Not long after, my attendant came to my room and invited 
me to take a walk. I most gladly accepted the invitation, 
struggling and panting as my spirit was, for freedom ; and I 
found that the pure air alone exerted an exhilerating influ- 
ence over my feelings, and I with another prisoner, proposed 
to walk about the buildings, to see the grounds, etc. 

But we soon found ourselves followed by our watchful at- 
tendant, to see if we were not trying to run off I "Oh," 
said I, "is this the vigilance that I am subjected to? Is 
there no more freedom outside of our bolts and bars, than 
within them? Are we not allowed to be paroled like prison- 
ers? No, no. No parole of honor is allowed these prisoners, 
for not one moment are we allowed to be out of sight and 
hearing of our vigilant attendant. And these are the walks 
and circumscribed limits Mr. Packard has assigned his wife, 
while he can roam where he pleases, with none to molest or 
make him afraid." 

It is my opinion that this institution receives and retains 
many sane persons, of whose sanity Dr. McFarland is as well 
assured as he was of my own. I do believe that ho became 



PARTING SCENE. 69 

fully convinced in his heart that I was not insane, before our 
interview terminated ; but since I had been already received 
by his assistant, he did not like to revoke his decision so ab- 
ruptly as to return me directly into my husband's hands ; 
neither did he wish to disappoint the wishes nor thwart the 
plans of a very respectable and popular minister of high 
standing in the Presbyterian church, for by this act he might 
possibly alienate some popular influences from his support; 
and one other thought may have had some influence over this 
decision (and will not my reader pardon my vanity if I men- 
tion it ?) namely, I think the intelligent Doctor thought he 
would like to become better acquainted with me. By thus 
retaining me for a few days, he felt that I could then be re- 
turned to the satisfaction of all parties. His subsequent 
polite attentions, and the remark he made to me at one of 
these interviews, viz : " Mrs. Packard, you will not remain 
here many days," in connection with a remark he made Mrs. 
Judge Thomas, of Jacksonville, respecting me, has led me 
to feel that I did not then misjudge him. The remark was 
this, "Mrs. Thomas, we have a very remarkable patient now 
in our Asylum. It is a Mrs. Packard, a clergyman's wife, 
from Massachusetts. She has a high order of talent, has a 
very superior education, is polished and refined in her man- 
ners, having ever moved in the best society, and is the most 
intelligent lady I ever saw. I think you would like to make 
her acquaintance." 

Till. 
The Parting Scene. 

The next day I had a brief interview with the Doctor 
alone in my room, which was very pleasant and satisfactory 
to me that is, I thought he could not think I was an insane 
person, therefore I had a little ray of hope to cling to, as 
Mr. Packard had not yet left. Dr. McFarland did not ex- 
change a word with me upon this subject. But this dying 
hope was destined very soon to go out in utter darkness. 



70 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon Mr. Packard came the 
second time to my room, and as he had allowed me to be in 
his company only during the interview I had with the Doctor, 
during the two days and nights he had been in the Asylum, 
I felt it to be a privilege to accept of his invitation to go to 
the reception room and have a talk with him there. I ac- 
cordingly took his arm, without its being offered, and walked 
out of the hall. As we passed on I heard some one remark, 
" See I that lady is not alienated from her husband. See how 
kindly she takes her husband's arm." 

I seated myself by his side on the sofa, when he said, " I 
am going to leave for Manteno in about one hour, and I did 
not know but that you would like to have a talk with me 
before Heft." 

" Then you are determined to leave your wife in an Insane 
Asylum. O, husband I how can you do so ?" I then burst 
into tears. 

"I hoped we should have a pleasant interview before we 
parted." 

"Pleasant! how could it be pleasant to leave me in such 
a place ? and do you think it will be pleasant for me to be 
left? Only think of those dear little motherless children !" 

"I shall see that they are well taken care of." 

" But you can not give them a mother's care. 0, how can 
my children live without their mother ; and how can I live 
without my children?" 

As this strong maternal feeling of my nature came welling 
up into such a high pitch of intensity, it seemed as if my heart 
would burst with anguish, at this hitherto unaccepted thought. 
I arose, and with my handkerchief to my face, I walked the 
room back an'd forth, at the same time, begging and pleading 
in the most plaintive, expressive terras, that he would com- 
mute my sentence of banishment, so far as not to separate me 
from my children. 0, do be entreated in some way, to allow 
me this one favor, and my grateful, thankful heart will bless 
you forever. 0, it will kill me to be separated from those 
dear ones. My babe ! 0, what will become of him ; and what 



PASTING SCENE. 71 

will become of me, without my babe? 0, husband, do ! do ! 
let me return with you to my children ! You know I have 
always been a kind and faithful mother, and wife too, and now 
how can you treat me so ?" 

For sometime I walked the room, giving utterance to such, 
and similar expressions, without raising my eyes, or noticing 
the effect my plea was having upon him ; but after a long 
pause, and vainly watching for his reply for some time, I look- 
ed up to see why he did not speak to me, when lo ! what did 
I see ? My husband, sound asleep on the sofa, nodding his 
head. 

In astonishment, I indignantly exclaimed, " husband ! 
are you asleep ? (Jan you sleep, when your wife is in such 
agony?" The emphatic tones of my voice brought him back 
to consciousness, when he raised his head, and opening his 
eyes, replied, "I can't keep awake ; I have been broke of my 
rest !" 

"'I see it is of no use to say any thing more it will avail 
nothing. "We may as well part now as ever." Saying this, 
I walked up to him and extended to him my hand, arid as I 
did so, I said, " Farewell, husband, forever ! may our next 
meeting be in the spirit land ; and if there you find yourself 
in need of help to rise to a higher plane, remember there is 
one spirit in the universe, who is willing to descend to any 
depth of misery, to help you on to a higher plane, if this can 
be done and this spirit is your Elizabeth. Farewell, hus- 
band, forever 1" 

" I am sorry to hear you talk so ; I hoped we should have a 
pleasant parting." 

This was our parting scene. 

Now let me introduce to my reader, a scene in the Doctor's 
office, which succeeded this. Leaving me in the reception 
room, he repaired to the office, to take his leave of the Doctor. 
Now it was his turn to cry. Availing himself of this right, 
he now burst into a flood of tears, which so choked his utter- 
ance, it was some minutes before he could articulate at all, 
when he at length exclaimed, " How I pity my wife I How 



72 THE PRISONER S HIDDEN LIFE. 

hard it is to leave her here ! 0, if I only were not obliged to 
do so, how gladly would I take her home. She is such a good 
wife, how can I part with her? But I must do so, hard as it 
is, for her good." Thus he went on, acting this part of the 
drama to perfection. Indeed, so well, and adroitly did he act 
the husband, that the intelligent Doctor McFarland himself, 
was deluded into the belief that he was sincere, and that these 
were the tears of true sorrow and affection. Alluding to this 
scene months afterwards, he remarked, " I never saw a man 
so deeply afflicted, and even heart-broken, as Mr. Packard 
was, at parting with you. He was the most heart-broken 
man I ever saw. If ever a man manifested true affection for 
his wife, it was Mr. Packard." 

Yes, he so completely psychologised the Doctor into the 
feeling that he loved me most devotedly, and was compelled 
in spite of himself, to incarcerate me, that the Doctor felt 
certain there had been a justifiable cause for my having been 
brought there. 

Satisfied that his work was now well done, he took his 
leave of the Doctor, and his tears at the same time, and with 
a light heart and quick step, passed out on to the porch, where 
he stopped to give me one look of satisfied delight, that he 
had finally completely triumphed, in getting me imprisond be- 
yond all hope of deliverance. Never had I seen his face more 
radiant with joy, than when he looked up to me, as I stood 
before the open window of the reception room, and threw me 
his kisses from the ends of his fingers, and bowed me his hap- 
py adieu. Yes, happy, that his conspiracy against my per- 
sonal liberty had so completely triumphed over all opposition. 
Having secured the entombment of the mother, he had now 
naught to do but to teach her children to despise their mother, 
and treat her name and memory, with contempt and derision. 



DISAPPOINTED HOPES. 73 

IX. 
Disappointed Hopes. 

Mr. Packard has gone ! My last hope of deliverance 
through him, has now sunk into a rayless night of despair. 
Yes, utter despair of ever being liberated and reinstated in 
my family again. He has not so much as even uttered one 
syllable on which I could build such a hope. I never have 
heard him even say, he hoped I should ever get better, so as 
to be with him once more. What can this mean ? Has he 
buried me for life? Yes, so his conduct speaks, and no word, 
or act contradicts it. Hopeless imprisonment ! 0, may my 
reader never know what these terms signify. I know what 
it is to endure endless torment, and hopeless bondage ! and it 
is a terrible doom . 

I did try to build a faint hope, upon the fact that he had 
brought only a small satchel of things with me, and these 
could not last me long, but before he left, he dashed this hope 
to the ground by telling me, he should send me my trunk, 
after he got home. In about three weeks, there did arrive a 
monstrous sized trunk directed to Mrs. Packard, which led 
the patients to exclaim, "I? Mr. Packard going to keep his 
wife here for life ?" And how did my sad hart echo this 
fearful question. 

But even amid this gloom, one ray of comfort gleamed 
forth at the thought, now I shall hear from my dear children. 
They surely will send some token of love and affection to 
their imprisoned mother. And to enjoy this comfort to its 
fullest extent, I asked the Doctor to allow me to unpack it 
in my own room, with my door locked. He kindly locked 
me in himself, seemingly rejoicing in my anticipated joy. 
My first surprise on opening it, was to see so few articles of 
clothing, and these of the very poorest kind, and in a state 
of the most tangled confusion, with rotten lemons and cans 
of fruit scattered amongst them to their detriment, poor as 
they were. The whole contents would not fill one-third of 
D 



74 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the trunk, and this caused the confusion in the transportation 
of the trunk. And why he should send so large a trunk to 
carry so few articles, has always been an unsolved mystery 
to me. Bnt this feeling was soon lost in the bright thought 
of soon finding my childrens' love tokens. Each and every 
article was most carefully searched, to find what would be 
next to finding my child, for his own fingers must have held 
it and kissed it for his mother. 

But ah 1 must I utter the sad truth, that no token, no 
letter could be found, on which my fond heart could rest its 
loving impulses? Yes, so it was; and being alone, I wept 
in deepest anguish at this disappointed hope. My sons after- 
wards told me that they all expressed a wish to send me a 
letter and many tokens, but their father had refused to let 
them do so unless he should dictate the letters. I. "W. said 
he knew that to get such a letter as his father would dictate, 
would pain. me more than it would to get none at all. And 
so it would have been, for on a narrow strip of paper, four 
inches long and two wide, I found pencilled, "We are glad 
to hear you are getting better; hope you will soon get well. 
Your daughter Elizabeth." This her father made her write 
to make me feel that she believed me insane; and he knew 
nothing would torment me so much as this thought from her. 
Indeed, I found that what I. "W. had said was too true. I 
was more pained to get this line from my daughter, than I 
would have been to get none at all ; for not knowing the 
truth, I did fear she was coming under the influence of this 
delusion. 

I think the Doctor pitied me under this trial, for the next 
day, when in reply to his questions, I told him I found no 
letters, or love tokens, or messages from my children, he 
seemed astonished, and said, "I thought you would find 
many letters. I wonder they did not write their mother." 

Another disappointment. I had especially requested Mr. 
Packard that my nice black silk dress and white crape shawl 
be sent, so. that I could go to church decently dressed. But 
not only these, but all my other good articles of clothing 



DISAPPOINTED HOPES. 75 

were kept from me, not only -while I was in the Asjium, but 
long after I was liberated; and then he was forced to give 
them up upon my father's authority. 

.Now my only hope of deliverance lay in the Mantenoites 
fulfilling their promise to get me out in a few days. Every 
carriage and man was watched, hoping to find in him my de- 
liverer. But none came, until several weeks, when I was 
called from Mrs. McFarland's parlor into the reception room, 
to see Mr. and Mrs. Blessing, from Manteno, and a stranger, 
to whom they introduced me as Dr. Shirley, of Jacksonville. 
Dr. Shirley took the lead in the conversation, and I was 
delighted at the compliment he paid me in introducing sub- 
jects such as required intelligence and scientific knowledge 
to converse upon. Our pleasure in sustaining such an inter- 
change of thoughts seemed to be mutually reciprocated, and 
I think we both parted feeling that we were wiser than when 
we met. I am sure this was the case with me, and from 
what Dr. Shirley said of me to those who had employed him 
to test my sanity, I think I did not misjudge him. In reply 
to their inquiry, " Is she insane ?" he said, " She is the sanest 
person I ever saw. I wish the world was full of such 
women." 

Now that my sanity was established beyond question, the 
Mantenoites resolved to liberate me, and therefore appointed 
a public indignation meeting for this purpose, to see what 
could be done to effect it. Mr. Packard hearing of this pro- 
posed meeting to liberate his imprisoned wife, sent to Chicago 
and obtained Rev. A. D. Eddy, D. D., and Mr. Cooley, of 
the firm of Cooley & Farwell, to come to Manteno and help 
him to withstand and defeat this philanthropic plan. They 
both came and did their work up thoroughly and successfully, 
in that they browbeat the Mantenoites, and silenced them 
into submission to the dictates of this ministerial and church 
influence. Thus this plan was defeated, and I was destined 
to another disappointment. Mr. Blessing told me clandes- 
tinely, he had come to effect my liberation if possible. 

But these Mantenoites determined that their defeat should 



76 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

not be a failure, and therefore they determined to try the 
liabeus corpus act, and thus secure me a fair trial at least. 
But to their surprise, they found it exceedingly difficult, if 
not impossible, to extend this act to a legal "nonentity," 
unless by the consent of Mr. Packard, who stood for me in 
law, and of course he would not consent to any step which 
would allow me any chance at self-defence. Therefore, with 
the encouragement and assistance of his brother ministers, 
and the church, he learned how to ward off this attempt suc- 
cessfully. 

Again the Mantenoites assembled, and by their generous 
contributions raised a liberal purse of money, to be used in 
my defence. They sent a delegation to the Asylum, to in- 
form me of this fact, which they did, by carefully noting the 
time the Doctor's back was turned, to inform me as they 
walked through the prison halls. , Said they, " Any amount 
of money you can have, if money can help you. Send to 
Theophilus, your son to take you out." 

I simply had time to reply, " I can't send letters out." 
This was all we could say clandestinely. Although I could 
see no hope of deliverance through this source, yet the thought 
that I was being cared for by any one outside my prison, was 
a great consolation to me. 

Through the influence of friends, my oldest son Theophilus 
visited the Asylum, and obtained an interview with me, a de- 
tailed account of which visit is given in my " Three Years 
Imprisonment," on page 127, therefore I shall not repeat this 
affecting scene. But the result I mention, to show how our 
hopes are germinated, only to be' blighted by Asylum life. 
At this interview, Dr. McFarland fairly promised to co-operate 
with my son, in doing all in his power to get me out, and af- 
terwards refused to do the least thing towards it, not even to 
send my letters to my son, nor would he deliver his to me. 
I know he received letters from him, for shortly after, 1 saw 
one on his office table from him, directed to me, and I took 
it up to read it, and he took it from me, refusing to let me 
know its contents. Now I found I was destined to another 



SUNNY SIDE OF MY PRISON LIFE. 77 

disappointment, for the Doctor had not only refused to co-op- 
erate, but was evidently defeating my son's filial attempts to 
rescue his mother. The agony of this disappointment was 
increased by the fact that the Doctor had deceived us both, in 
this transaction, therefore his word could no longer be trusted. 
I was very sorry to be obliged to come to this conclusion, for 
until this development I had regarded him as a man of honor, 
whose word could be trusted. 

Another effort my friends made, was to go to the Govenor 
on my behalf, but he replied he could not repeal laws, nor en- 
act laws he could only execute laws, and if there was no 
law by which I could have a trial, or be liberated, he did not 
know of any thing that he could do for me. It was my hus- 
band's business to take me out, and if he refused, there was no 
law to force him, so long as Dr. McFarland claimed I was 
insane. 

After all these sore disappointments, I found that my per- 
sonal liberty, and personal identity, were entirely at the 
mercy of Mr. Packard and Dr. McFarland ; that no law of 
the Institution or of the State, recognised my identity while 
a married woman ; therefore, no protection, not even the 
criminal's right of self-defence, could be extended to me; and 
therefore I must intelligently yield up all hopes of my per- 
sonal liberty, so long as Mr. Packard and Dr. McFarland lived 
and agreed in keepingme imprisoned. 



X. 
The Sunny Side of my Prison Life. 

For the first four months of my prison life, Dr. McFarland 
treated me himself, and caused me to be treated, with all the 
respect of a hotel boarder, so far as lay in his power to do so. 

As to medical treatment, I received none at all, either 
from himself, or his subordinates. And the same may be 
said with equal truth, of all the inmates. This is the general 



78 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

rule ; those few cases where they receive any kind of medical 
treatment, are the exceptions. A little ale occasionally, is 
the principal part of the medical treatment which these ex- 
ceptions receive, unless his medical treatment consists in the 
"laying on of hands," for this treatment is almost universally 
bestowed. But the manner in which this was practised, va- 
ried very much in different cases. 

For the first four months the Doctor "laid his hands" very 
gently upon me, except that the pressure of my hand in his 
was sometimes quite perceptible, and sometimes, as I thought, 
longer continued than this healing process demanded I Still 
as I was then quite a novice in this mode of cure, I might 
not have been a proper judge ! But after these four months 
he laid his hands upon me in a different manner, and as I then 
thought and still do think, far too violently. There was no 
mistaking the character of these grips no duplicity after 
this period rendered this modern mode of treatment, of 
doubtful interpretation to me. To Dr. McFarland's credit 
I must say it, that if shaking hands with his patients is 
his mode of medical treatment, I must give him the credit 
of paying no respect of persons in administering it. For 
indeed there was seldom an occupant of the Seventh ward 
who did not daily feel the grip of the Superintendent's hand. 
And I have no doubt but that this mode of imparting mag- 
netism was in many instances beneficial to the patient. So 
far as its influence upon me was concerned, I cheerfully ad- 
mit that I considered myself benefitted by it. My nervous 
system had been severely taxed, my sympathies had been 
stifled, and these heavy draughts on the vital forces of my 
nature had left me in a condition to be easily strengthened 
and benefitted by the magnetic influence of a strong and sym- 
pathising man. The affectionate pressure of his great hand 
seemed to impart a kind of vitality to my nervous system, 
which did help me bear my spiritual tortures with greater 
fortitude and composure. I felt that he did pity me, and 
really wished to be a true friend to me and my interests. 
Many thanks are due Dr. McFarland for the courteous, manly 



SUNNY SIDE OF MY PRISON LIFE. 79 

treatment I received from him during this favored period. 
I did not then think, neither do I now cherish the thought, 
that Dr. McFarland intended to manifest himself towards 
me in any manner inconsistent with the principles of a high 
toned, manly gentleman. Only one impulsive act did he 
allow himself to commit during this period, which I think his 
reason would not approve, so far as his personal treatment of 
me was concerned. 

One day I was entrusted with the care of some of the 
Seventh ward prisoners, to recreate ourselves in the court- 
yard. Availing myself of the sources of amusement there 
furnished, I seated myself upon a swing, and also politely 
accepted the offer of a gentleman, who was reclining upon 
the grass under the shady tree, to swing me. After allow- 
ing him to do so for a while, I asked him to allow me to get 
off and let another take my place. But instead of receiving 
their thanks for this offer, Mrs. Gassaway, one of the prison- 
ers, a wife, and mother of several children, bestowed upon 
me a most severe reprimand, not only for swinging myself, 
but also for allowing a "male patient," as she called my 
gallant, to swing me. Instead, therefore, of accepting this 
offer herself, or allowing any other one to accept it, she 
started with a quick step towards the ward, to report my 
misdemeanors to Miss Eagle, our attendant, as she threat- 
ened to do. I, of course, followed with my paroled prisoners 
after her, as I had been instructed to keep an eye upon them 
all ; but instead of following them into the ward, I went 
alone into the Doctor's office, to report my misdemeanors at 
head quarters. I found Dr. McFarland standing at his 
writing desk, alone in his office. I rushed up in front of him, 
and in a very enthusiastic, amusing manner, made a frank 
and full confession of what Mrs. Gassaway termed my "great 
improprieties ! " With his eyes upon me, the Doctor listened 
with the most profound attention to my confessions and plea 
for pardon, and as I finished by inquiring, "What shall I say 
to Miss Eagle in extenuation of Mrs. Gassaway's charges 
against me ; he replied, "Say nothing; I will see that you 



80 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

are protected;" and as he made this remark, he stooped and 
bestowed a kiss upon my forehead. 

Although I regarded this as a mere impulsive act, dictated 
by no corrupt motives, yet as I afterwards told him, I con- 
sidered it an indiscreet act for a man in his position, "For," 
said I, "Dr. McFarland, men do not send their wives, nor 
fathers their daughters here, expecting that you will mani- 
fest your regard for them in this manner, and by doing so, you 
render yourself liable to just censure from the patrons of this 
Institution." The Doctor listened with silent attention to 
this reproof, and only remarked " It was only a kiss of 
charity!" 

And here I will venture the remark, that had I been dis- 
charged at any time during these four months, I should 
doubtless have identified myself with that class of discharged 
prisoners who represent Dr. McFarland as no other than an 
honorable gentleman. And I am prepared to believe there 
are many whose experience would lead them to thus repre- 
sent him, for, from their standpoint, he had been only the 
gentlemanly Superintendent. The greatest fault I could see 
in the Doctor's conduct during this period, was his receiving 
so many who were not insane, and in retaining those who had 
recovered their sanity so long after they were able to be at 
home. I saw several such sink back into a state of hopeless 
imbecility from this cause alone. Hope too long deferred 
made them so sick of life that they yielded themselves up to 
desperation as a natural, inevitable result. It was a matter 
of great surprise to me to find so many in the Seventh ward, 
who, like myself, had never shown any insanity while there, 
and these were almost uniformly married women, who were 
put there either by strategy or by force. None of these un- 
fortunate sane prisoners had had any trial or any chance of 
self-defence. And I could not force myself to believe that 
so sensible a man as the Doctor, could really believe they 
were insane, without a shadow of evidence in their own con- 
duct. But sadly foolish and weak as it was, he professed to 
believe they were, on simple hearsay testimony, in defiance 



SUNNT SIDE OF MY PEISON LIFE. 81 

of positive, iangible proof to the contrary. I once asked 
the Doctor how long he had to keep a person imprisoned, to 
determine whether they were insane or not. His reply was, 
" Sometimes six months, and sometimes a year!" 

Another fact I noticed, that he invariably kept these sane 
wives until they begged to be sent home. This led me to 
suspect that there was a secret understanding between 
the husband and the Doctor; that the subjection of the wife 
was the cure the husband was seeking to effect under the 
specious plea of insanity ; and when they began to express 
a wish to go home, the Doctor would encourage these tyran- 
nical husbands that they were " improving." Time after 
time have I seen these defenceless women sent home only to 
be sent back again and again, for the sole purpose of making 
them the unresisting, willing slaves of their cruel husbands. 

I do not blame Dr. McFarland for the sins of these unnat- 
ural husbands, but I do blame him for letting the Institution 
be used by them as a place of punishment to married women, 
as a prison, where they could appeal to none for help or de- 
liverance, but to themselves. These husbands, like Mr. 
Packard, knew that no law could protect the wife from their 
despotic power, and they knew too, that the simple word of 
Dr. McFarland that they were insane, would legally entitle 
them to the use of this State's Prison as a calaboose, where 
their wives could be subjected to their husbands will. I 
think that Dr. McFarland, even while he treated these subject- 
ed women with decent, gentlemanly respect, was at the same 
time, inflicting upon them a most cruel wrong, in keeping 
them imprisoned, when he knew they were not insane. This 
is the only wrong I complain of. from him, during those four 
months. He ought to have had the moral courage to say to 
Mr. Packard, " Your wife is not insane, and I see no reason 
why her personal liberty should be taken from her, therefore 
I shall discharge her upon my own responsibility, to take care 
of herself, unless you choose to do so. I am sure she is capa- 
ble of assuming a ?elf reliant position, a,nd therefore ought 
not to be imprisoned." But he dare not do right and justice 
D2 



82 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

by me, or my associates, in this particular, but chose the cow- 
ardly course of compromising with this mean man ; and thus 
he trampled the highest, noblest, instincts of his manly na- 
ture in the dust. By thus oppressing the weak, instead of 
protecting them, he ruined himself his manliness suffered 
strangulation under this process, as the sequel will demon- 
strate. 

But with this exception, no Superintendent could have 
treated a prisoner with more consideration than he did me. 
I was allowed to go into the parlor and visit with his wife or 
her guests, when I pleased. I was occasionally invited to 
eat at the Doctor's table. He instructed my attendants to 
let me go out whenever I pleased. He allowed my room to 
be furnished with the toilet comforts of any good boarding 
house. He allowed me to have a trunk in my room, and all 
the articles of my wardrobe that I needed. I was allowed 
my gold watch and gold spectacles, my three bladed pocket 
knife arid scissors ; in fact, everything a hotel boarder could 
desire. He furnished me books and papers to read. I could 
read, knit and sew, ride or walk, when I pleased, and to add 
to the feeling of trust and confidence he reposed in me, he 
gave me the entire charge of a carriage load of patients, and 
gave also, the reins of the horse into my hands, to ride as far 
as I pleased, and return when I pleased. This he did four- 
teen times, with no one to care for the horse or the patients, 
but myself. 

He gave me money to go to the city and trade for myself, 
and his wife has sent me to trade for her, and for the house. 
His wife has employed me for weeks in succession, to cut and 
make dresses for herself and daughters, and the matron em- 
ployed me to cut and plan work for the house. I cut and 
made twelve comforts for the house, and tied them myself, in 
my room. I made pants and vests for the house. I cut 
twelve dresses, for the patients. Indeed, there was always 
something I could find to do, for the comfort of others, and my 
own amusement. I was allowed to visit with most of the 
guests of the house. In short, but for the grated windows, 



SUNNY SIDE OF MY PRISON LIFE. 83 

and bolted doors of prison life, I should hardly have known 
but I was a boarder, whose identity and capacities were rec- 
ognised, in common with other intelligent agents. 

My companions in the Seventh ward, were a very pleasant 
source of social enjoyment. Among them, I found some of 
the most original thinkers I ever saw ; and among this class, 
I found some of the best teachers I had ever had. Some of 
them were Spiritualists, and they taught me many new ideas, 
and set me on to a new track of exploration. They told me 
their visions, and trances and prophecies, many of which have 
been already fulfilled, in the events of the war. One lady had 
a prevision of the war, and was sent to the Asylum because 
she told of it ! Another had a vision of the same, under dif- 
ferent imagery, and she had to lose her personal liberty for 
telling of it. Both of these prophetesses, Mrs. Neff and Mrs. 
Clarke, have lived to see the exact fulfillment of their visions, 
and like Jeremiah, they both had to be imprisoned for foretell- 
ing future events. And sad as is the fact, these inspired 
women were compelled, even under the folds of the American 
flag, of religious toleration, to either be false to these true in- 
spirations, or " Hide their light under a bushel," in order to 
obtain their personal liberty. Both of them told me, they 
were obliged to stop talking about it, before any one would 
admit they were getting over their insanity. But they had 
to endure the horrors of a Lunatic Asylum for months, and 
even years, before they could be induced to love the defence 
of the truth, less than their personal liberty. But neither of 
these prophetesses ever did, to my knowledge, deny the truth 
of these visions, nor would they own it to be insanity. They 
merely yielded to be gagged, on condition that they could be 
liberated, by so doing. Such manifestations as these, are 
what the Asylum calls very insane cases, so they had to be 
subjected to very severe punishments, and tortures, to bring 
them into this condition. 

They both said to me clandestinely, the night before they 
left, "My views are not changed at all, in regard to these 
prophetic truths, yet I dare not own it aloud, lest Dr. McFar- 



84 

land hear of it, and I be thereby doomed to endless torment 
within these prison walls. If my attendants should know 
that I have uttered these views to you, they will report me to 
the Doctor, and he will order my friends to leave totmorrow 
without me, as he will tell them I am not fit to go, for my* 
insanity has returned. Therefore be entreated, Mrs. Packard, 
not to betray me by reporting this conversation, until I am 
safely away from this horrid Inquisition." 

Of course I did not report them to their tormentors, but I 
consider it to be my duty, to report this Inquisition to the 
American people, and thus appeal to their intelligence, to 
destroy these Inquisitions, which they are now blindly sus- 
taining, under the popular name of charitable, humanitarian 
institutions. If the truth were known, I believe that much 
that is called insanity at the present day, is only a higher 
development of Christianity than the perverted theology of 
the pulpit is willing to recognise. It is my opinion, that 
much that is called insanity in these days of spiritual corrup- 
tion, will be looked upon by future ages, with a feeling similar 
to what we feel towards those who suffered as witches, in 
Salem, Massachusetts. That persecution went so far, that 
the government was obliged to make a law, that all who ac- 
cused others of witchcraft, must themselves suffer the pun- 
ishment they had designed to secure to the witch. This law 
and its execution, put a speedy stop to these false accusations. 
Possibly, our government will be obliged to put a stop to 
these false accusations of insanity, in the same manner. If 
all those -who falsely accused another of insanity, were com- 
pelled to be treated as insane themselves, I think the number 
of those brought before a jnry, for trial on the charge of in- 
sanity, would be greatly lessened. 



MY TKANSITION. 85 

XL 
My Transition. 

During the sunny days of my prison life I was allowed to 
have the free and unrestricted use of my pen, with all the 
paper and stationery I wished. My light to my letters, 
journals and private papers, was as freely acceded to me as 
any other inalienable right of an American citizen. And 
Dr. McFarland even respected my post office right so much 
as not to read my letters to my husband, nor do I think he 
read his to me. This, I found, was an almost unexampled 
practical acknowledgment of this sacred right of an Amer- 
ican citizen, while under the locks and keys of one of its 
humanitarian institutions. Before I entered an Insane Asy- 
lum and learned its hidden life from the standpoint of a 
patient, I had not supposed that the inmates were outlaws, 
in the sense that the law did not protect them in any of their 
inalienable rights. I had ignorantly supposed that -their 
right to " life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," was 
recognized and respected as human beings. But now I have 
learned it is not the case ; but on the contrary, the law and 
society have so regulated this principle, that the insane are 
permitted to be treated and regarded as having no rights that 
any one is bound to respect no, not even so much as the 
slav.es are, for they have the rights of their masters' selfish 
interests to shield their own rights. But the rights of the 
insane are not even shielded by the principle of selfishness. 
What does the keeper of this class care for the rights of the 
menials beneath him? Nothing. His salary is secured by 
law, whether there be few or many under the roof which 
shelters him. Unlike the slaveholder, he can torment and 
abuse unto death, and his interests are not impaired by this 
wreck of human faculties and human life. Indeed this wreck 
is oftentimes made a necessity to the Superintendent, to pre- 
vent the exposure of his criminal acts. And since there is 
no law to shield the insane person, he is, by law, subject to 



86 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

an absolute despotism. Thus the despot is protected hi his 
despotism, no matter how severe and rigorous he may become. 

Now since the object of government should be to protect 
the rights of its citizens, it seems to me that the insane have 
rights which the government ought to respect, acknowledge 
and protect. And one of these human rights is to write let- 
ters to whom and when he pleases, as this would serve to 
restrain, in some degree, the absolute despotism which rules 
supreme behind the curtain. So long as the Superintendent 
was upright, and acted according to his highest sense of 
right, he would not care what his patients said or wrote about 
him. But when selfishness and wicked policy controlled his 
actions, he would fear his wickedness would be exposed if 
the patients were allowed to write what they pleased. I 
think it is because the deeds of darkness and cruelty are so 
common, instead of the deeds of kindness, forbearance and 
justice, which render the Superintendents so harmonious in 
the opinion that it is best to deprive their patients of their 
post office rights, when they are deprived of their personal 
liberty. 

In my own experience I find this principle demonstrated, 
as the sequel will show. "While I was treated with propriety, 
there were no striotures put upon my correspondence ; but 
as soon as he began to pass on to the plane of injustice, he 
became jealous at once of the use I made of this right. I 
do not think any letters I wrote during these sunny days, 
would have excited his jealousy if he did read them all ; but 
there was one document I wrote which did arouse all the 
evil influences of his nature into energetic action against me, 
and this was a written reproof I gave him. 

It may be a matter of surprise to my readers that I should 
deem it my duty to reprove one who was acting so gentle- 
manly a part towards me. It was a surprise to myself, 
almost, that I should dare to risk myself in such an en- 
counter, knowing as I did, that all my favors, rights and 
privileges, were suspended entirely Upon the will of the 
Superintendent, and therefore, entirely subject to his dicta- 



MY TRANSITION. 87 

tion. But motives higher than those of self-interest actuated 
me, or I could not have done it. I know that I was a rare 
exception in the respectful treatment he was bestowing upon 
me ; no other prisoner had been so much favored before me, 
if the testimony of his employees could be relied upon, and 
my eligible position had become the great topic of discussion 
among the prisoners and employees. 

But by the omnipotent power of God's grace I was inspired 
with moral courage sufficient to espouse the cause of *.he op- 
pressed and the defenceless, even at the risk of becoming one 
of their number by so doing. I plainly saw and felt that on 
the part of their oppressors there was power, but that they 
had no comforter. I felt conscious that I held an influence 
and power over Dr. McFarland, and I deliberately deter- 
mined this influence should be felt in their behalf. And, 
like Queen Esther, I felt willing to cast in my lot witb these 
despised captives, if necessary, to be their deliverer. I 
therefore depicted their wrongs, oppression and received 
cruelties, in the most expressive terms I could command, and 
on this statement of awful facts I based an appeal to his 
intelligence, his humanity, and his conscience, to become 
their protector and deliverer. I furthermore added, that 
unless he did treat them with more justice, I should expose 
his criminal conduct publicly, when I got out ; but if he 
would repent of these sins against humanity, he would have 
nothing to fear, for we would all forgive the past if he would 
repent now, and do us justice in the future. 

This document cast the die for my future destiny. The 
transition time had fully come, when comfort, attention, 
respect, privilege, all, all, were in the dead past, and discom- 
fort, inattention, disrespect, contempt, wrong and deprivation 
are to mark the future of my prison life. It was for others' 
interests I plead it was of others' wrongs and woes I 
complained. It was for them and their sakes I deliberately 
laid down my position as the Asylum favorite, and became 
henceforth the Asylum prisoner. From this time, for two 
years and eight months, I was not allowed to step my foot on 



88 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the ground, and I fully believe it was the Doctor's purpose 
to make a maniac of me, by the skillful use of the Asylum 
tortures. 

But, thank God ! the mouths of the Asylum Lions were 
kept shut, so that they could not hurt me, and like Shadrach, 
Meshach and Abednego, the Lord brought me out of this 
fiery furnace without the taint of insanity upon me. I did 
not fear to trust the Lord in the line of my duty he did not 
forsake me in my captivity. Although henceforth I became 
one with my fellow captives in suffering, yet never for one 
moment have I regretted the step I then took in their de- 
fence, nor the transition it assigned me. 

XII. 
My Removal from the Best Ward to the Worst. 

One Saturday evening, after chapel prayers, Dr. McFar- 
land took me by the arm and led me from the chapel into the 
Eighth ward, and as he left me behind the dead lock, said, 
" You may occupy this ward, Mrs. Packard." This was the 
first manifestation of the change in the Doctor's feelings 
towards me. 

As he left, I said to my attendant, "Miss Tenny, what 
does this mean?" 

" I don't know ; all he said to me was, ' I wish you not to 
allow Mrs. Packard to leave the ward, and give her a dormi- 
tory bed.' " 

"I don't know what it means either" said I; "he has 
never reproved me for anything, neither have I broken any 
rules that I know of. I wonder if my reproof has not 
offended him?" 

" I presume it has ; I have heard there was quite a stir 
about it." 

I found it was generally known that I was preparing a 
document in defence of the prisoners' rights, and several had 
heard me read it ; and although they insisted upon its truth 



REMOVAL TO THE WORST WARD. 89 

in every particular, yet they all seemed to think I had no 
idea of the Doctor's power over us, or I should not dare to 
utter the truth so plainly to him. Some said, "We have 
often told him the same thing, but he takes no notice of it 
whatever, unless he gets mad about it, then he will send us 
to some bad ward to be punished for it." Others would say, 
"Mrs. Packard, you had better not give the Doctor that 
document, unless you wish to be sent to a dungeon, where 
you could never see daylight again." Another would say, 
"I will stand by you, Mrs. Packard, if you will give him 
that document, if he kills me for doing so; for it is the truth." 

Fearing some of these predictions might prove true, I took 
the precaution to take an exact copy of the document, and 
sewed it up in a cloth, and hid it between the glass and the 
board back of my mirror, where it remained, undisturbed and 
unknown, to any one occupant of the Asylum, except my- 
self, until I took it out myself, after I was liberated. I did 
this, thinking that if I should be killed there, it might some 
time be found, and tell the cause of my sudden or mysterious 
death ; or if ever I should be liberated, it might be a vindica- 
tion of my sanity, and explain the reason for my being 
retained so long. 

Besides hiding this duplicate, I put every article of my 
wardrobe in perfect order, before going to chapel prayers 
that night, feeling a kind of presentiment of coming evil. 
I also told my friends in this Seventh ward, that I hoped they 
would save my things from destruction, if they could not 
help me, in case of an encounter with the Doctor. As it 
proved, I went to the chapel as well prepared for the event 
as I could have been, had I known what was to happen. 
My attendant, Miss Eagle, of the Seventh ward, told me 
that the Doctor came directly to my room after he had dis- 
posed of me, and shut himself in there alone, a long time, 
while he searched my things all over to find every manuscript- 
I had in my possession, which he took from me. Knowing 
that I had a duplicate of his reproof, he determined to find 
it and destroy it. But in this attempted robbery he failed. 



90 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

He then ordered Miss Eagle to send all my things to the 
trunk room, and not allow me to take my bowl and pitcher 
and mirror, although they both were my own. He ordered 
my new attendant, Miss Tenny, to treat me just as she did 
the maniacs, who were now my sole companions to let me 
have nothing to amuse myself with, by way of sewing, read- 
ing, or writing. My associates in this ward occupied them- 
selves in screaming, fighting, running, hallooing, sitting on 
the floor when they sat at all in their own rooms, as chairs 
were not allowed in this ward. There was scarcely a patient 
in the whole ward who could answer a rational question in a 
rational manner. 

This ward was then considered the worst ward in the house, 
inasmuch as it then contained some of the most dangerous 
class of patients, even worse than the Fifth in this respect, 
and in respect to filth and pollution, it surpassed the Fifth at 
that time. It is not possible for me to conceive of a more 
fetid smell, than the atmosphere of this hall exhaled. An 
occupant of this hall, would inevitably become so completely 
saturated with this most offensive effluvia, that the odor of 
the Eighth ward patients could be distinctly recognised at a 
great distance, even in the open air. I could, in a few mo- 
ments after the Doctor put me in among them, even taste 
this most fetid scent at the pit of my stomach. Even our 
food and drink was so contaminated with it, we could taste 
nothing else, sometimes. It at first seemed to me, I must 
soon become nothing less than a heap of putrefaction. But I 
have found out that I can live, move, breathe, and have a be- 
ing, where I once thought I could not. 

This awful scent was owing to neglect in the management 
of the Institution. This was not the visitor's ward. Seldom 
any, but the Asylum occupants, found their entrance into 
this sink of human pollution. The patients were never 
washed all over, although they were the lowest, filthiest class 
of prisoners. They could not wait upon themselves any more 
than an infant, in many instances, and none took the trouble 
to wait upon them. The accumulation of this defilement, 



REMOVAL TO THE WORST WARD. 91 

about their persons, their beds, their rooms, and the unfragrant 
puddles of water through which they would delight to wade 
and wallow in, rendered the exhalations in every part of the 
hall, almost intolerable. 

To endure this contamination, I felt certain my daily cold 
water bath must be continued ; but how could it be done, with 
only one tin wash basin for eighteen persons ? I found that 
we all could hardly find time to wash even our hands and face, 
before breakfast, in this single dish, much less could it be 
spared long enough for one to take a full bath. My attendant 
tried to get my bowl and pitcher from the Seventh ward, to 
accommodate me, but the Doctor forbid it. I asked him for it. 
He refused me. I then claimed the right to take a new 
chamber vessel, that; was brought into the ward for another 
purpose, and tied a scarlet string around the handle to distin- 
guish it, and kept it under my bed for my washbowl. By this 
means, I was able to continue my daily bath, although I found 
my feelings of delicacy revolted from the gaze of from four 
to six room-mates, who occupied the same dormitory with my- 
self. 

The Doctor expressly forbid my having a room by myself, 
but compelled me to sleep in this dormitory for one year, 
where, each night, my life was exposed, by the violent hands 
of these maniacs. I have been obliged to call up my attend- 
ant, some nights, to save being killed by them. Still, the 
Doctor would not let her give me a room by myself. - I have 
sometimes thought the Doctor put me there for the very pur- 
pose of getting me killed by these maniacs. I have been 
nearly killed several times, and I have appealed most earn- 
estly to Dr. McFarland to save my life, but he would simply 
turn speechless away from me! I have also asked him to 
remove some of the most dangerous ones for my safety, and 
the only response would be, to bring in a more dangerous one. 

I made no complaints, never expostulated with him, nor 
spoke a disrespectful or reproachful word to him, in vindica- 
tion of my own rights. I never made any confession to him 
of wrong doing on my part, nor presented any plea for pardon 



92 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

or forgiveness. Neither did he ever utter one' word of expla- 
nation to me, why he was pursuing this course of treatment 
towards me. Neither could any one about the building evei 
get him to give them any reason for this change towards me, 
except, " It is all for her good." 

But to the credit of my attendants, the two sisters, Misses 
Tenny, and Mrs. Waldo, the matron, I am happy to add, 
they did not feel bound to co-operate in all the Doctor's plans 
to abuse and torment me. Indeed, the oldest Miss Tenny, 
openly and boldly refused to treat me as she did the maniacs. 
In her own language I can vindicate her, for her conduct cor- 
responded with her words. One day, after sympathizing with 
me in my privations, she said, "Mrs. Packard, I shall not 
treat you as I do the other patients, notwithstanding the Doc- 
tor has ordered me to. I shall use my own judgment, and 
treat you as 1 think you deserve to be treated." And indeed, 
she did treat me like a sister. I do not now see how she could 
have done better by me than she did ; and to her kindness, 
and tender sympathy, do I owe much, under God, for being 
able to escape the many dangers and trials, which enveloped 
me, and come out from among them, unharmed. The two 
Miss Tennys deserve much credit, also, for the reasonable and 
judicious treatment they bestowed upon the other patients in 
this ward. In fact, they were the first truly kind attendants 
I had then seen in the Asylum. They were the first I had 
found, who seemed to fear God, more than they did Dr. 
McFarland. Even the day following the Doctor's order to 
not let me leave the ward on any account, she took me to the 
trunk room herself, and asked me to select any articles from 
my wardrobe I wished, and let me take my sewing box, con- 
taining my knife, scissors, and spectacles, etc., and gave me a 
drawer in the dormitory table to keep them in, and put the 
key of it into my own pocket. This was a marked act of 
confidence on her part, for there were strict rules in this ward, 
that no knife or scissors be allowed in the ward, even in the 
hands of the attendants. 

Mrs. "Waldo, our matron, extended to me her practical 



MY OCCUPATION. 93 

Sympathy, by doing many things for my comfort, which the 
Doctor forbid. She allowed me to use a covered box with a 
cushioned seat upon it, as a substitute for my trunk, and she 
bought me a metallic wash bowl after a while, which I used for 
nearly two years, for myself alone ; and by a little strategy, 
she and Miss Tenny secured my mirror for our dormitory, as 
there was no mirror of any kind, in the ward. But this 
dauntless act well nigh cost me my document, for we had 
hardly got it hung on to its nail, when one of the wild patients 
seemed to be seized with a furious spite against it, and rush- 
ing up to the table beneath it, took article after article upon 
the table, and threw against it with almost incredible rapid- 
ity ; but just before she had time to hurl the tumbler and 
pitcher against it, one of my room-mates seized the mirror 
from the nail, and rushed with it into another room, while the 
fragments of the tumbler and pitcher were flying in all direc- 
tions, and the table being upset with terrible violence. After 
this, I kept my mirror hid between my beds, except when I 
wished to use it, or let others use it. But I occasionally 
found some of the maniacs had taken it from its hiding place, 
and were using it as they pleased ; but by the most gentle and 
adroit coaxing, I got it back again, safely. I once recollect 
of getting one to give it to me in exchange for an apple. 
But this mirror, like myself, seemed destined to elude all 
attacks upon its destruction. The document within it, and 
the spirit within me, seemed alike invulnerable. 



XIII. 

My Occupation. 

As my readers now find me located in my new position, 
they may, perhaps, like to know how I occupied myself. As 
it was in consequence of my defence of others' rights and 
privileges that I had lost my own, I now felt impelled by the 
same spirit, to make other's wants my care, rather than care 



94 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

for myself, by neglecting them. Indeed, I have found that 
the exercise of this spirit, is, in reality, the best antidote I 
can find for an oppressed spirit. Paradoxical as it may seem, 
I think the best way to train ourselves to bear heavy burdens, 
is to bear the burdens of others. It now seems to me, that 
unless I had known how to practically apply this principle, I 
mu?t have inevitably sunk under my burdens ; but the elas- 
ticity of spirit which benevolent acts alone inspire, capaci- 
tates the spirit to rebound, where it would otherwise be 
crushed by the pressure put upon it. And moreover, I sum- 
moned the will-power also to my rescue. I determined I 
would not be crushed, neither would I submit to see others 
crushed. In other language, I determined to be a living 
reprover of the evils I saw consummated in this Asylum. I 
did not intend to defend one line of conduct with my tongue 
and pen, and endorse a different line by my actions. I knew 
that preaching godliness had far less potency for good, than 
practical godliness. I had already preached my sermon ; now, 
all that I had to do, was to put its principles into practice. 
I had asked Dr. McFarland to ameliorate the condition of 
his patients ; I now determined to aid him in this good work, 
to the fullest extent of my ability. Therefore, for months 
and years from this date, I worked for this object almost ex- 
clusively. 

I found that the attendants were very negligent in their 
duties ; still, I did not feel disposed to blame or reprove 
them for these neglects. I felt that this duty fell on the 
Superintendent, and as I had already given him the reproof 
which was his due, I felt that I had no right to teach his 
attendants, only by the silent influence of example. In 
short, I tried to fill up on my part the defects I saw on theirs. 

I commenced this line of conduct on the Sabbath morning 
succeeding my removal. As I have said, the patients were 
in an exceedingly filthy condition, and therefore their per- 
sonal cleanliness was plainly my first most obvious duty. 
This morning I commenced by coaxing as many of the pa- 
tients as I could, to allow me to wash their face, neck and 



MY OCCUPATION. 95 

hands in a bowl of warm, clean, soft suds; and then I sham- 
pooed as many of their filthy " live" heads as I could find 
time to do before chapel service. When the Doctor visited 
the ward that morning, I can not forget the look of surprise 
he cast upon the row of clean faces and combed hair he wit- 
nessed on the side seats of the hall. Simply this process 
alone so changed their personal appearance, that it is no 
wonder he had to gaze upon them to recognize them. Their 
rough, tangled, flying and streaming hair looked, when I 
began, as if a comb had never touched them. He simply 
bowed to me and said, " Good morning, Mrs. Packard I" and 
then seated himself upon one of these seats, and silently 
watched my movements while I pursued this my own chosen 
calling. Without even alluding to the losses he had sub- 
jected me to, I simply remarked, " Doctor, I find I can always 
find something to do for the benefit of others, and you have 
now assigned me quite a missionary field to cultivate'!" 
" Yes," was his only response. He did not so much as ask 
me how I liked my new room, or my new associates ! b.ut 
after seeing me shampoo one or two of his patients, he arose 
and left the hall, speechless. 

The next day, Monday morning, I commenced the slow 
work of reconstruction and recuperation of the human 
faculties in sober earnest. I first obtained from my accom- 
modating attendant, a bowl of warm saleratus water and a 
quantity of castile soap, a soft cloth and two towels, and a 
bowl of clear soft water. I then took one patient at a time 
into her room alone, and there gently stripped her and 
gave her a thorough sponge bath of this saleratus and wa- 
ter and soap, and then rinsed them well off with the pure 
water. I then laid aside all her wet, filthy, saturated and 
offensive garments, and put clean ones on in their place. 
After combing her hair, I would introduce her into the ward 
as a neat, clean, tidy lady, who was going to be an example 
in these virtues to all others ! being careful, however, to 
prove the truth of these compliments by tending upon her 
as I would my cleanly dressed infant. By vigilance on my 



96 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

part, her clothes might be kept comparatively clean and dry 
for two or three days, before another change would be 
necessary. , * 

Having thus cleaned the occupant of a room, I then 
cleaned the room in the same manner, with the aid of a pail 
of strong saleratus and water and scrubbing brush, I would 
at length succeed in finding the coat of paint I was seeking 
for, which had to be done by dint of patient perseverance 
equal to that required to find the skin of its occupant. It is 
no exaggeration to say that I never before saw human beings 
whose skin was so deeply embedded beneath so many layers 
of dirt as those were. The pa.rt cleaned would contrast so 
strikingly with the part not cleaned, that it would be diffi- 
cult to believe they belonged to the same race, if on different 
individuals. 

But the scrubbing of the walls and the floor is not the only 
portion of the room to be cleaned, by any means. It was no 
insignificant task to put the bedstead and the bed into a 
suitable condition for a human being to occupy. In many 
instances, the husk mattress I found completely rotted 
through with constantly repeated showers upon it, and this 
rot had in most instances become as black as soot, and re- 
tained an effluvia most difficult to tolerate. "With the aid of 
the Misses Tenny I had all these rotten beds removed and 
emptied, and the ticks washed ; then I cut out the mouldied 
part, and supplied its place with new cloth, and had it filled 
again with fresh straw or husks, which completed this part 
of the business. The sheets and blankets then passed 
through the cleaning process ; but the white counterpanes 
which covered up these filthy nests did not need cleaning. 
They were kept white and clean, by being folded up every 
night and laid upon the seats in the hall, and in the day time 
they were displayed upon the beds to advertise the neatness 
and comfort of the house and beds ! But if a sick patient 
should chance to lie down upon one of these advertisers of 
neatness, the white spreads, she was liable to receive some 
of the severest punishments of this inquisitorial prison, for 
this great offence against the "display of the house." 



MY OCCUPATION. 97 

The cleaning of one patient and one room, together with 
the waiting upon those I had cleaned, took one day's labor. 
And this I continued, day after day, for about three weeks, 
before I got these eighteen patients and their rooms all 
cleaned ; and by this time the process needed to be repeated. 
This I continued to do for nearly one year, until others began 
to wake up to the necessity of doing likewise in other wards, 
as our ward was by this time reported to be the neatest and 
best kept ward in the whole house. And even the odor of 
it could not be surpassed in purity. 

This contagion for amelioration extended even to the 
Trustees, and as the result, at Dr. McParland's suggestion, 
each ward was subsequently furnished with a nice bathing 
tub, which the Trustees designed only for the comfort of the 
patients, as the Doctor urged the need now of the weekly 
bathing of all of the patients. But I am sorry to add, this 
great luxury, like the institution itself, has degenerated into 
the greatest torment to the patient. The bath room is re- 
garded by the prisoners there as the " calaboose " used to be 
by the slave at the South. 

The Doctor visited this ward almost every day, but never 
to ameliorate my condition, or that of any other prisoner, so 
far as I could see. He would see the great drops of sweat 
rolling off from my face, from the excessive exercise this 
scrubbing and mopping afforded me, but I do not recollect 
that he ever advised me to desist. But Miss Tenny has told 
me that he had said to her, " You must not let Mrs. Packard 
work too hard, for I am afraid her husband won't like it." 
I do not think the Doctor cared for this ameliorated condition 
of his prisoners ; but he dared not oppose it directly, since 
the filthiness of the Eighth ward had become so proverbial, 
it became a source of apprehension lest these mephitic ex- 
halations might breed a pestilence in the Hospital. The 
typhoid fever had raged there during the summer months 
preceding this expurgating process. During this sickness, 
the Doctor had assigned to my care sonic of these typhoid 
patients, whom I nursed and tended night and day. I made 
E 



98 , THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the shroud of Mrs. Hart, from Chicago, who died of this 
epidemic there. 

Mrs. Hart had been a most unwilling prisoner for seven 
long years, and from all I can learn, I believe she has been a 
victim of marital cruelty, but never was insane. Her hus- 
band put her in without trial, and the Doctor took her on his 
testimony, and kept her to please him, all the while knowing, 
as I believe, that she was not insane. This is only one of 
many of those innocent victims, who have been falsely im- 
prisoned for life, under that most barbarous law of Illinois, 
which suspends the personal liberty of married women, en- 
tirely upon the capricious will of the husband. I saw Mr. 
Hart, her husband, who came simply for appearances, as it 
seemed to me, to see her during her last sickness, but who 
became so very impatient for her death, that he could not 
stay to see her die, although it was almost certain she could 
not live two days longer, when he left. Thus, his wife, whom 
his will alone had deprived of her children, home, and liberty 
for seven years, could not have granted her dying request, that 
he stay by her to close her eyes, but left, and coolly ordered 
her body to be sent home to Chicago, by express, in a decent 
coffin, when she did die. I helped dress the corpse of the un- 
fortunate victim. I saw her passed into the hands of four 
stranger men in the dead of night, and carried mournerless, 
and alone, to the depot, to be sent to her children and hus- 
band, at Chicago. 

Oh ! what reckless sundering of human ties are caused by 
this Insane Asylum system ! These children are taught to 
regard their mother as a worthless being, because she had the 
cruel brand of insanity placed upon her by her husband, 
signed and sealed by a corrupt public servant, whom a blinded 
public were regarding as an almost infallible man. Thus 
have the holiest ties of nature, been most ruthlessly sundered 
by the perfidy of this corrupt Institution. 

As I witnessed the sum of all our social evils culminating 
in this most corrupt Institution, I resolved, that here, hence- 
forth, and forever, my occupation should be, to eradicate, 



HOW I GOT MY PAPEKS. . 99 

expose, and destroy this sum of all human abominations 
the Insane Asylum system, on its present basis. 



XIT. 
How I Obtained my Papers. 

Before entering upon my Prison scenes, as delineated in my 
journal, it may gratify my readers to know how I obtained 
my Asylum papers, containing portions of my journal, and 
my bible class papers, to which I have already referred, 
although by so doing, I must go back a little in my narrative. 

The greatest part of my Asylum journal I secured, by 
hiding it behind a false lining in my band box. One day I 
found a piece of wall paper, and I clandestinely sewed this 
into my band box for a lining, behind which and around the 
box I hid my papers. Some of them I hid between, the 
black cloth and the board on the bottom of my satchel. I 
cut open the edge and scaled it off with a case knife, and 
after filling the pocket thus made, I sewed it up, where they 
were kept undiscovered. Some I hid between the millinet 
crown and the outside covering of my traveling bonnet. I 
encircled this crown with so many thicknesses of paper, that 
it sometimes caused the exclamation, " How heavy this bon- 
net is !" I never told, until I got out of the Asylum, in what 
the weight consisted. 

These bible class papers I regarded as my only available 
means of self-defence from the charge of insanity, therefore 
I clung to them with great tenacity. I intended to make 
them the basis of my plea in self-defence before the jury 
which Mr. Comstock had told me I must have before com- 
mitment. But if this trial should be evaded in any way, I 
intended to retain them, as my only armor of defence. 
During the three weeks that Mr. Packard left my room, I 
kept them hid under the head of my bed ; but the Saturday 



100 THE PEISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

previous to my abduction, I concluded to keep them hence- 
forth about my person, I therefore made arrangements to put 
a pocket into my under skirt ; but before I had completed it 
I was called off to attend to other duties. But Sabbath 
night, when I espied Mr. Packard so carefully and clandes- 
tinely searching into all my private apartments, I felt 
alarmed for the safety of my papers, thinking they might 
possibly be the object of his search. Therefore, until my 
pocket was completed, I put them into a small box, and hid 
them in the wardrobe of my own room, and Monday morning, 
when I. ~W. got up, I called him to my room, to tell him 
where I had hid them, that he might, if necessary, save them 
for me. Said I, '' My son, these papers may be your moth- 
er's only means of self-defence, and unless we can evade Mr. 
Packard's search, he will deprive your mother of this last 
and only means of vindicating her sanity. Now, my son, if 
I am ever kidnapped and you cannot defend me, be sure that 
you protect these papers, for they are next to defending me, 
so far as my reputation for sanity is concerned. I intend 
to-day to finish my pocket and carry them about my person." 
" I will certainly regard your request, and protect your 
papers." Saying this, he kissed me and left, assuring me he 
should soon be back and take me to ride to Mr. Rumsey's. 
But before he returned, my kidnappers came and claimed 
my person, but allowed me no chance to take my papers with 
me. It seems Mr. Packard feared I should take them, there- 
fore to prevent my having any opportunity to do so, he 
ordered Miss Rumsey not to leave me alone in my room one 
minute after the physicians left it. Notwithstanding I had 
only half bathed myself when he forced an entrance into my 
room with an ax through the window, I was compelled to 
flee into my bed, to prevent my introduction to my guests in 
a state of nudity, he would not allow me to be alone long 
enough to complete my ablution. I not only asked this 
privilege, but I reasoned with him on the impropriety of 
compelling me to appear in this condition before Miss Rum- 
sey. But all to no purpose. My reasons and requests were 



HOW I GOT MY PAPERS. 



101 



" 



You 



have' offee a PraCCa *"' J 4 * 

7 papers In. t ' " ^ WaS Wi S ed to '^ without 



102 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

had given me for that amount of my patrimony money which 
my father had sent me a few years before. This note I have 
never seen, nor have I ever had one cent of the money it 
secured to me. 

Mr. Packard's pile of stolen papers was increased by sev- 
eral additions Dr. McFarland made to it by robbing me of 
my private papers while in my prison, and sending them to 
Mr. Packard. After my liberation from prison, I tried va- 
rious methods to obtain them, but all in vain, until I made 
him the following proposal: Mr. Packard had for some time 
been trying to induce me to sign a deed, so that he could sell 
some real estate, and I had objected, unless he should give 
me some equivalent for what he had already unjustly taken 
from me. This he would not do. He therefore went to 
Esquire La Brie, and took an oath that his wife was insane, 
so that he could sell the property without my signature. 
Finding my refusal was not going to save my right of dower, 
or prevent his selling the property, I proposed to him that I 
would sign the deed on condition that he would restore to me 
my papers. He accordingly called in Esquire La Brie to 
witness my signature, and in his presence he gave me my 
papers, as I had proposed. This signature was acknowledged 
as valid, although two days before Mr. Packard had taken 
an oath on the Bible, that I was insane, and thereby incom- 
petent to sign a deed ! By means of this perjury on his part, 
my papers were restored to me. 

XY. 
Eyidences of My Insanity. 

When a person is once accused of being insane, the re- 
flective mind naturally inquires, how is their insanity mani- 
fested? This question was often put to Mr. Packard, and 
knowing all would not be satisfied by his simple assertion, 
he was obliged to manufacture his proof or evidence to 
satisfy this class. 



EVIDENCES OF MY INSANITY. 103 

One evidence on which he placed great reliance was, "that 
his wife invited Universalist ministers to his house for enter- 
tainment during a Convention." Yes, I do plead guilty to 
this charge. I did offer the hospitalities of our house to 
ministers of this class under these circumstances : It was 
at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, that this Convention met and 
dedicated a new church, located a few rods from our house. 
To my great surprise Mr. Packard proposed to attend this 
dedication, which he did, and I accompanied him, and listened 
to a sermon of high literary merit, and to me, a morally 
sound and logical argument was for the first time presented 
to my mind, that God's infinite love and wisdom were sure 
guarantees of the world's redemption. The argument was 
this " Where there is both will and power to cure, no evil 
can endure." 

The church was crowded to overflowing, and the Conven- 
tion being larger in numbers than their own people could 
conveniently accommodate, the Chairman of the Committee 
of Arrangements presented this fact to the congregation, and 
very kindly solicited their neighbors and friends, who could 
do so, to take them into their families, and all such were 
asked to leave their names at the stand as they passed out. 

Since but a short time previous, the Congregationalist 
society had so large an Association they had been obliged to 
solicit the hospitalities of other denominations, and as I had 
called upon our Universalist neighbors to accommodate us, 
I instinctively felt that it was only paying a debt of honor 
and justice to offer now to accommodate their ministers. 
Therefore, as I passed down the aisle by my husband's side, 
I whispered to him that I could accommodate two. " Shall 
I give in our names for two?" said I. He paid no attention 
to me or my inquiry, but passed on by the stand without 
speaking to any one. Seeing it devolved upon me to make 
the offer, if made at all, I stepped up and gave in my name 
for two and passed on and overtook Mr. Packard a few steps 
from the door, and taking his arm said, " I have offered to 
take two, and I must now hasten home and prepare for 



104 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

them." He made no reply whatever, but his silence said, 
"I don't approve of it." Therefore I reasoned in defence 
of the act as an act of justice, etc.; and besides as all the 
labor of serving the tables, as well as the services of the 
maid of all work devolved upon me, I felt that if I was will- 
ing to do all this extra work, no one could reasonably object, 
as I thought. But fortunately for me, I had hardly com- 
menced my preparations when the Chairman called and 
informed me that their friends were all provided for, so that 
my service was not needed ; and after kindly thanking me for 
my hospitable offer he left me, with the feeling on my part 
of having done my duty, and here the subject was dropped. 

But years after, to my surprise and horror, he brought this 
act up as evidence of my insanity ! and his argument against 
me was, that if they had come, he might, in courtesy, have 
been obliged to have asked a Universalist minister to ask a 
blessing at his table, or even to lead in family prayers ! and, 
only think ! this too, in the presence of his children ! 

Another evidence of insanity he alleged against me, was 
that I gave a dollar towards building a Catholic church in 
Manteno. I plead guilty to this charge also. We had a 
very kind Christian neighbor in Mr. La Brie, who was a 
Catholic from principle, in the same sense that Mr. Packard 
was Presbyterian from principle ; that is, both had been 
educated to feel that their own was the true church, and 
therefore both were conscientious in sustaining them. Mr. 
Packard was trying to build up Presbyterianism by his efforts, 
and he, of course, expected to be paid for doing this work; but 
the society was new and feeble, and therefore in their 
struggles to raise his salary, the collector, Deacon Smith, 
called on Mr. La Brie to help them, arid he with true Chris- 
tian charity, contributed yearly to Mr. Packard's support. 

One evening I called on Mr. La Brie, to ask his opinion 
respecting my article on " Spiritual Gifts," which our bible 
class had refused to hear, and he very patiently listened and 
commented upon it. He expressed his opinion that it was 
a sound, logical, and invincible argument in favor of what the 



EVIDENCES OF MY INSANITY. 106 

Catholics had always considered the true view. This asser- 
tion very much surprised me, as I had always been taught to 
believe that the Catholics were a deluded people, believing 
nothing but absurdities ; but now, when I found out that I 
had alone studied out a view of truth which they had always 
endorsed, and one to which our church would not so much as 
listen, lest it might be found to be heretical, I began to ask 
where religious toleration is to be found, in the Presbyterian 
or the Catholic church? I had here found the Christian spirit 
of charity and religious toleration manifested to a far higher 
degree in Mr. La Brie, the Catholic, than in Deacon Smith, 
the Presbyterian. 

I therefore came to the conclusion that there were not only 
truths in the Catholic church, but also good Christians in 
it. As the scales of bigotry thus fell from my own eyes, 
I could see that the Catholics were just as conscientious in 
sustaining their church, as we were in sustaining ours ; and 
finding what struggles they were making to pay their debts, 
I felt moved to manifest my new feeling of toleration, by 
giving him one dollar towards helping them liquidate their 
debt. And now for this act of toleration, I am called insane; 
for Mr. Packard argues that I should not thus be building up 
this "mother of all abominations," this "seat of bigotry and 
intolerance," unless I had lost my reason. The reason which 
remains in exercise in my organization teaches me that there 
are truths in all denominations and parties, and there are 
errors in all, and our reason is only normally exercised, in 
my opinion, when we use it in separating the good and true, 
from the evil and false. 

Again, he says 1 call him the " son of perdition." I shall 
not plead guilty to this charge, for it is not strictly true. I 
have oftentimes tried to convince Mr. Packard that he was 
not a " totally depraved " man. But all in vain. He seems 
strangely determined to cling to this crowning virtue of his 
Christian character, with a death-like grapple ! It seems that 
all his hopes of heaven are built upon this foundation stone I 
In his creed, there can be no real virtue without it. So tena- 
E2 



106 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ciously does he cling to this position as the only redeeming 
trait of his character, that I have sometimes been tempted 
to say, " Well, Mr. Packard, I do not know but what you 
are what you claim to be, a totally depraved man, or the 'son 
of perdition,' for whom there is not found a ransom." When 
I come to admit his own position, and express an agreement 
of opinion with him, on this point, then he uses this conces- 
sion as a weapon against me, as though I had accused him of 
being the " son of perdition." 

Again, he accuses me of punishing the children for obeying 
their father. This is not true. I never did punish a child 
for obeying their father, but I have sometimes been compelled 
to enforce obedience to their father's authority, by interposing 
my own. Indeed, I think my children could never have 
reverenced their father's authority, without the maternal 
influence to inspire it, by requiring subjection to it ; for the 
fitful, unstable, and arbitrary government he exercised over 
them, was only fitted, naturally, to inspire contempt, rather 
than reverence. But Mr. Packard has tried to undermine 
my authority, by telling the children they need not obey their 
mother, and I have been obliged to counteract this influence, 
by enforcing obedience, sometimes, where he has interposed 
and forbid their obeying me. This is what he calls punishing 
the children,, for obeying their father, whereas, it is only 
requiring them to obey their mother. 

Another evidence, and one which his sister, Mrs. Dole, 
presented to the jury on my trial, was that I once made 
biscuit for dinner, when I had unexpected company call, and 
had not bread enough for the table. The reason why this 
was mentioned, was because the counsel insisted on evidence 
being produced from my own actions, independent of opinions 
that I was insane, and she having been more intimate in our 
family than any other person, was compelled, under oath, to 
state what she saw. Being unwilling to own she h.ad seen 
nothing insane in my conduct, and being bound to spe.ik only 
the truth, she told this circumstance as the greatest aet of 
insanity she had noticed. 



ABUSIVE ATTENDANT. 107 

But I trust my readers will be satisfied with this array of 
evidence which my persecutors bought against me, if I only 
add the sum total of proof as brought by Dr. Brown, an M. D. 
of Kankakee City, whom Mr. Packard bought to say I was 
insane, for the purpose of getting me incarcerated again for 
life in Northampton, Mass. This Doctor had left the wheel- 
wright business and studied just long enough to experience 
the sophomorical feeling that his opinion would be entitled to 
infallibility, especially if given in the high-flown language' 
of an expert ; therefore, the last of fifteen reasons why he 
considered me insane, was in these words, as taken down by 
the reporter at the time, viz: " The fifteenth reason which 
I have written down, on which I have founded my opinion 
that she is insane is, her viewing the subject of religion from 
the osteric standpoint of Christian exegetical analysis, and 
agglutinating the polsymthetical ectoblasts of homogeneous 
asceticism 1" 



xvx 

The Attendant who Abused Me. 

Mrs. De La Hay, wife of Dr. De La Hay, of Jacksonville, 
was the only one of all the employees at the Asylum whom 
the Doctor could influence to treat me personally like an 
insane person. She has threatened me with the scieen room, 
and this threat has been accompanied with the flourish of a 
butcher knife over my head, for simply passing a piece of 
Johnny cake through a crack under my door, to a hungry 
patient who was locked in her room to suffer starvation, as 
her discipline for her insanity. Besides threatening me with 
the screen room, she threatened to jacket me for speaking at 
th table. 

One day, after she had been treating her patients with 
groat injustice and cruelty, I addressed Mrs. McKonkey, who 
sat next to me at the table, and in an undertone remarked, 



108 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

" I am thankful there is a recording angel present, noting 
what is going on in these wards," when Mrs. De La Hay, 
overhearing my remark, exclaimed, in a very angry tone, 
"Mrs. Packard, stop your .voice ! if you speak another word 
at the table I shall put a straight jacket on you ! " 

Mrs. Lovel, one of the prisoners replied, " Mrs. De La Hay, 
did you ever have a straight-jacket on yourself?" 

"No, my position protects me ! but I would as soon put 
one on Mrs. Packard as any other patient, 'recording angel' 
or no 'recording angel !' and Dr. McFarland will protect, me 
in doing so, too." 

On another occasion, hearing the sound of conflict in our 
ward, I opened my door, and saw Mrs. De La Hay seize Miss 
Mary Rollins, a prisoner, by her throat, and Mary pulled the 
hair of Mrs. De La Hay with as firm a grip, as she held on to 
her victim's throat. I, fearing the result, rallied help and 
parted them, when I found poor Mary's throat bleeding from 
an opening Mrs. De La Hay had made in it with her finger 
nails. I took a piece of my own linen, and bound it up, wet 
in cold water ; and this cloth I still retain, red with the blood 
of this innocent girl, as proof of this kind of abuse in Jack- 
sonville Insane Asylum. 

It was my defence of the prisoners from Mrs. De La Hay's 
unreasonable abuse which led her to treat me as she did. It 
was not long after this defence of Mary Rollins, that I heard 
loud screams and groans issuing from a dormitory, when I 
and my associates rushed into the room to see what was the 
matter. There we found one of the prisoners lying upon 
her back, with Mrs. De La Hay over her, trying to put on a 
straight-jacket. This lady was screaming from physical 
agony, on account of an injury Mrs. De La Hay had inflicted 
upon her a few days before, when she burst a blood vessel on 
her lungs, by strangling her under the water. This plunging 
ehe had inflicted as her punishment for not obeying her when 
she told her to stop talking. And now this wounded spot 
on her lungs had become so inflamed, that the pressure of 
Mrs. De La Hay's hands upon it, together with tho stricture 



ABUSIVE ATTENDANT. 109 

of the straight-jacket, caused her to scream from agony. 
I inquired, " What is the matter? Why are you putting 
the straight-jacket on that woman?" 

Without answering my question, she exclaimed in a loud 
voice, " Mrs. Packard, leave this room !" I backed out over 
the threshold, still looking towards her victim, and repeated 
my question, " Why are you putting her into the straight- 
jacket ? What has she done ?" This time, she left her victim, 
and came at me in a great rage, and seizing my arm, she said 
<' Go to your room." As she was leading me unresistingly 
along, one of the prisoners took hold of her arm, and ex- 
claimed, " Mrs. DeLaHay, do you know what you are about? 
Do you know that is Mrs. Packard you are locking up?" 

" Yes, I do, and I am obeying Dr. McFarland in what I am 
doing. He tells me not to let Mrs. Packard interfere with 
the management of the patients." 

She led me to my room, where I was locked up until the 
next morning. While there, I heard the Doctor's footsteps 
in the hall, and I heard Mrs. DeLaHay tell him why she had 
locked me up, and he sanctioned the act by leaving me locked 
up, without coming to my room at all. 

The next day I ascertained, that die was disciplining this 
dormitory prisoner with the straight-jacket, because she had 
found her upon her bed, trying to rest herself from the pains 
this rupture on her lungs was causing her. 

So far as Mrs. DeLaHay's treatment of me was concerned, 
I do not consider her so much to blame, as Dr. McFarland 
was. Unlike my other attendants, she was too weak to resist 
the Doctor's influence over her, and therefore carried out his 
wishes, while the others would not. Had my other attend- 
ants carried out his wishes, my Asylum discipline would have 
been as severe as the other prisoners' were. 

It was a very noticeable fact, that the very means Mrs. 
DeLaHay used to secure and retain the Doctor's favor, by 
abusing me, was the very excuse the Doctor made for dis- 
charging her ; and the boast that her position protected her 
from the straight-jacket, did not prove a very defensive armor, 



110 THE PEISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

for in a few months from the time she uttered it, she became 
insane and a tenant of Jacksonville Poor House! 



XVII. 
"Let Dr. McFarland Bear his own Sins!" 

One day while in my room, I heard an uncommon noise in 
our ward, when, on suddenly opening my door, I saw nearly 
opposite, Dr. McFarland just as he had released his grasp of 
Bridget's throat, who had been struggling for her life, to 
avoid strangulation from his grasp. I did not see the Doc- 
tor's hand upon her throat, but I did see what she said was 
the marks of his thumb on one side of her throat, and of his 
fingers upon the other, and Bridget had a sore neck for some 
days afterwards, in consequence of it. Bridget, the prisoner's 
account of the matter is this ; the Doctor entered the ward 
just after a prisoner had broken a chair, and the pieces were 
still lying upon the floor. Bridget stood by while Mrs. 
DeLaHay explained the case to the Doctor, simply as a lis- 
tener. She had had nothing to do with breaking the chair. 
Mrs. DeLaHay also stood by, waiting the Doctor's orders. 
The Doctor turned to Bridget and said, " Pick up those 
pieces 1" 

" I shan't do it ! I didn't come here to work ! It is your 
attendants' business to do the work. He then, without saying 
a word, seized me by the throat, and the noise you heard was 
my struggle for deliverance." 

" Why, Bridget !" said I, " How dare you speak so to the 
Doctor, and why didn't you obey him ?" 

" I wouldn't have done it if he had killed me ! I didn't 
come here to do his work, and I wont do it !" 

This was Bridget's account, and it was confirmed, not only 
by all the witnessing patients, but also by Mrs. DeLaHay 
herself. Bridget was a quiet, inoffensive prisoner. I never 
saw her evince anything but reasonable conduct, when she 
was reasonably dealt by, and she was one of my dormitory 



ATTEMPTED RECONCILIATION. Ill 

companions for many months. She was always obedient to 
reasonable commands, but like human beings generally, she 
felt that she had rights of her own, which ought to be re- 
spected. 

Bridget has immortalized herself in my memory, by the 
lesson in theology she taught me the first night I occupied the 
room with her. It was under these circumstances. As was 
my uniform practice, I kneeled in front of my bed that night, 
before 1 got into it, to offer my silent prayer for protection 
and help, when Bridget, from the opposite bed, exclaimed, 
" Pray aloud !" I obeyed. 

This being the first night of my consignment to this loath- 
some place, I had to struggle mentally, against the indulgence 
of revengeful feelings towards the Doctor, for the injustice of 
the act ; therefore, to crush them out, 1 tried to pray for his 
forgiveness, and in doing so I made use of the expression, 
"Lord, I am willing to even bear his punishment for him, if, 
by this means he can be forgiven for this act of injustice 
towards me." Just at this point, Bridget interrupted me by 
exclaiming with great vehemence, " Let Dr. McFarland bear 
his own sins." 

1 am now of Bridget's mind entirely. Her sermon con- 
verted me from the theological error of vicarious suffering. 
I have never since asked my Father to let me bear the pun- 
ishment of any other brother or sister, due them for their 
own sins ; neither have I asked any other intelligence to bear 
the punishment due me for my own sins. 

XVIII. 
Attempted Reconciliation with Mr. Packard. 

The last letter I wrote Mr. Packard, I told him plainly on 
what conditions I would return to him. But it seems Dr. 
McFarland was not willing we should be reconciled on such a 
basis, for he would not send the letter, although Mr-, Packard 
was calling most persistently for letters from me. But he 



112 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

called in vain, as 1 said in this letter, I should never answer 
any more of his letters, nor write him again until this letter 
was answered. He begged of the Superintendent to get me 
to write, and he would show me these letters, when I would 
tell him, " When I get a reply to my last letter I will write, 
but not before, and if you, Doctor, ever wish me to write him 
again, send that letter, first." But like the deaf adder, he 
heard as though he heard not, and the ever repeated question 
would come, "why don't you write to Mr. Packard?" I finally 
told him " If you cannot understand my reason, and will not 
report it to Mr. Packard, he must ever remain in ignorance 
of the reason I do not write him." 

But it seems he never communicated these messages, nor 
would he send the letter, but simply told him, "I cannot per- 
suade her to write you." Finally^ Dr. Sturtevant informed 
me, that Mr. Packard had wished him to try to persuade me 
to write him, and he asked me why I could not grant his 
request. I told him I had written, and the Doctor had the 
letter but he would not send it, and just as soon as that letter 
was satisfactorily answered, I would open a free correspond- 
ence with him. Whether the Doctor allowed him to report 
my only true reason I know not, but after that, the Doctor 
told me he had burned my letter, because he considered it 
" worthless." I know not whether this was the letter he thus 
disposed of, or some of my many others I had given him to 
send to other friends. This fact I do know, that so long as 
my letters were sent through this post-office, my friends never 
received them, with one or two exceptions. My journal con- 
tains copies of all these letters, which I have shown to those 
family friends to whom they were written, and they tell me 
they never received them. 

Now here is a branch of the United States mail established 
within this public Institution, and the mail carrier transports 
it regularly, protected by lock and key, and yet I could not 
get a letter into it, nor get one from it, although directed 
directly to me. Indeed, I felt most keenly the truth of the 
remark the mail carrier made me, when I once met him and 



ATTEMPTED RECONCILIATION. 113 

enquired if he had any letters for me. Said he, "Mrs. Pack- 
ard, you have just as good a right to your mail as any other 
citizen of the United States." Why then is not this right 
granted me? Because one man chooses to say, " I will super- 
intend this inalienable right, and usurp it when I please, and 
no one can harm me in so doing." I ask this Republican 
Government, is this protecting the post office rights of all its 
citizens ? Who has a right to say, while I am not a criminal, 
"You shall be restricted in this right. You shall have this 
right usurped and ignored to any extent, as a punishment for . 
being numbered among the most afflicted class of American 
citizens 1" These terrible despotisms would be a far less 
dangerous institution, were the boarders allowed their post 
office rights. 

V 

If this right had not been usurped, in my case, it might 
have saved one family from the wreck of disunion. But Dr. 
McFarland would not allow a reasonable basis of reconciliation 
to be even presented for his consideration. Why was this? 
Was he unwilling there should be a reconciliation ? Why 
should he wish to stand between me and my husband ? These 
questions I leave my readers to answer. He talked as though 
he wished I would go to my husband, but he acted as though 
he had determined to make an impassable gulf between us. 
Well, if my husband will voluntarily resign his right to be 
the protector of his own wife, exclusively into the hands of a 
stranger man, can he blame this man for misusing this irre- 
sponsible trust ? This voluntary resignation of the marital 
right into the absolute, irresponsible control of another, is 
an unnatural act, and therefore must be deleterious in its con- 
gequences. Dr. McFarland had become an adept in this 
nefarious work, and therefore he found ways and means of 
disbanding this happy minister's family, forever. Although 
Mr. Packard is not responsible for Dr. McFarland's sins, yet, 
like the drunkard, he is responsible for allowing this exposure 
to exist. He should have exercised some sort of supervision 
over his own wife's destiny, so far, at least, as to retain his 
own rights unmolested. So should the State exercise such a 



114 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

supervision over their own Institution, as not to allow their 
own State rights to be trampled under foot by it, as it now 
does, in suffering the dearest of all human rights to be utterly 
ignored by it. 

The following are the terms I tried to send to my husband 
as the basis of a just nnion the only kind of union that 
would ever receive my sanction again. 

" 1st. Mr. Packard must make the confession as public as 
he has made the offence, that his wife has never given him 
any cause for regarding, or treating her as an insane person. 

2nd. He must allow me the unmolested exercise of my own 
rights of opinion, and conscience, and post office rights. 

3rd. He must allow me to hold my own property in my 
own name, and subject to my own control. 

4th. He must allow me to control my own children with a 
mother's authority, so far as the mother's province extends. 

5th. He must allow me to be the head of my own house- 
hold duties, and the mistress of my own hired girl. 

6th. The attempted usurpation of either of these inaliena- 
ble rights of a married woman, shall be considered as a 
dissolution of the Union." 

I know such stipulations serve rather to ignore a hus- 
band's protection, as indeed they do ; but where neither love 
nor reason will hold a man to be the protector of these, his 
wife's rights, what can the wife of such a man do, without 
some such stipulation, or laws, by which her identity, as a 
woman, can be maintained? The first is only virtually ac- 
knowledging my identity or accountability; that is, I am not 
a chattel, or an insane person, but a being, after I am mar- 
ried, as well as before; and unless a man can hold me upon 
a higher plane than the principle of common law places me 
upon, I am not willing to enter the marriage union. The 
law says I am a non-existent being after marriage, but God 
says I am an existent and accountable one still ; therefore I 
claim the recognition of this higher law principle, or I com- 
promise with this injustice by this act of disloyalty to myself. 

The conclusion of my last letter to Mr. Packard, dated 



ATTEMPTED RECONCILIATION. 115 

April 28, 1861, ends thus: "And ere we finally part, allow 
me to call to your recollection that most important period of 
your life, when, at the altar of your God, in the presence of 
your fellow witnesses, you solemnly vowed to love your wife, 
to comfort her, to honor her, and keep her in sickness and in 
health, for better and for worse, in poverty and riches, and 
forsaking all others, to keep thou only unto her, so long as 
both should live. Let me ask you, have you kept this 
solemn vow ? Your lost Elizabeth." 

About this time I had a letter from Mr. Packard, wherein 
he lays his plans before me, and asks my advice ! His plans 
were to break up the family and put out the children, and 
asks me to whom he shall give my babe, and to whom he 
shall give my daughter to bring up, and such like questions I 
But not a single intimation is expressed that the mother 
would ever be allowed the right to rear her own offspring. 
No, not even a wish was expressed that he hoped I might 
ever be able or capable of doing so; yet he could ask the 
counsel and advice of this non compos on these most impor- 
tant matters of vital interest ! I 

He then portrays the present condition of my family in 
facts like these. He says, "Elizabeth has had a fall and hurt 
her side, so that it pains her most of the time, and yet does 
all the work for the family, except when her aunt Dole comes 
and helps a day occasionally." Poor child ! how her mother 
longs to embrace her, and sympathize with her as she used to 
in my sorrows. How can a father put upon this child of 
eleven years, the cares of a woman the care of a babe, in 
addition to the care of a family, while she needs to attend 
school ! how much inconvenience some men will willingly 
endure, to crush a married woman into that position of non- 
entity, which the common law of marriage assigns her. 

I. ~W. too is feeling almost discouraged. He is so gentle 
in his disposition, he cannot live without his mother's sympa- 
thy. 0, my darling boy, be patient. God's time to help us 
is not yet come. I know it is hard for thy tender heart to 
wait so long. I can hardly bear it myself. Patient waiting 



116 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

is the hardest virtue for me to exercise. I had much rather 
work and toil than wait. But I will surmount all obstacles, 
and conquer all my impulsive feelings, by schooling them into 
entire submission to all God's appointments. If we could see 
all Gods plans as God sees them, we should be satisfied. 

"While these reflections were passing through my mind, 
Dr. McFarland called at my room and remarked, " Well, Mrs. 
Packard, what of the Manteno letter ?" I replied, " the family- 
are all going to destruction ; and his plan is to present such a 
view to my mind, as will induce me, for my children's sake, 
to plead to go home. He is trying to make me say ' 0, hus- 
band do take me home I if you only will, I will think, speak 
and act just as you please to have me, and will never ven- 
ture to think for myself again !' But his plan fails entirely. 
I shall never give him a chance to put me otFa second time. 11 

Then came his usual inquiry, " Have you a letter to send ?" 
I then told him, " Sir, do joy. think I shall submit to be thus 
trifled with? you know you will not send the letter I want 
you to send." 



XIX. 
Letter to my Children sent to the Wash-tub. 

Among my Asylum papers I find a copy of a letter I wrote 
my children on some cotton underwaists. which I tried to 
send by Miss Wilson, of Kankakee city. As all communi- 
cation with my children was cut off by the authority of Dr. 
McFarland, I was led to resort to strategy to secure this end. 
Therefore I procured some nicely dressed bleached cotton, and 
embroidered my daughter some double underwaists, on which 
I could easily and legibly pencil a long communication, such 
as my feelings prompted, hoping thus to bring myself to their 
recollection, so that I might not become an object of indiffer- 
ence to them. The Doctor knew that I was making these 
waists for her, and it seems he suspected the plan which 



LETTER TO MY CHILDBED. 117 

might thus open some kind of communication between us, 
therefore as Miss "Wilson was leaving, as a discharged patient, 
for her home in Kankakee, he, knowing that my Manteno 
hdme was only twelve miles from there, took her aside and 
asked her if she had any letter from me with her. She re- 
plied that she had no letter. " Have you anything from Mrs. 
Packard to her children ?" " Yes, I have some waists for 
her daughter, which I promised to take to her." "Let me 
see them," responded the Doctor. 

She then took them from her bosom, where she had placed 
them for concealment, and handed them to the Doctor. He 
unfolded them and saw the penciling on the inside, and after 
reading it, ordered them to the laundry to be washed and 
ironed before they could be sent ! thus thinking he had swept 
the letter into oblivion. But his sagacity was outwitted by 
his prisoner this time, for if the exultant Doctor felt that all 
traces of my intelligence and sanity had been obliterated by 
the destruction of my letters, he will now see he was mis- 
taken, when he sees this printed copy was preserved to be my 
passport to the world, of the state of his prisoner's mind while 
behind his dead-locks, and numbered among his " hopelessly 
insane maniacs." 

INSANE ASYLUM, June 20, 1861. 

MY BELOVED CHILDREN : So long as we are sure we have 
conscience and God on our side we have nothing to fear, 
although we are maligned by those who deny that conscience 
is designed as our guide. Let those who dare to disregard 
this silent monitor do so; but you, my children, will with me, 
dare to "serve the Lord," won't you? For it is only fidelity 
to its dictates which the Lord requires as his service. You 
are in danger of losing your souls by contact with those who 
encourage you to set aside conscience as your guide to heav- 
enly happiness. In this net of false doctrines, Satan is 
ensnaring guileless souls, and leading them unawares into 
captivity to himself. Do, children, be warned, and escape 
this snare before it is too late. 

But, children, since we can not secure the safety of any 



118 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

soul in opposition to their freedom, I rejoice that God does 
not hold us absolutely responsible for any soul but our own. 
To save ourselves depends upon ourselves ; and he who is 
fully determined to "work out his own salvation with fear 
and trembling," is the only one who will experience this sal- 
vation. Children, do right in everything, whether you are 
praised or blamed, and you will certainly secure a crown of 
righteousness, and so long as you continue to do right, no one 
can take it from you. But one sin, one wrong act, may for- 
feit it forever ; as only a small stream may drown one if he 
lies prostrate in it. 0, beware of little sins, little deviations 
from rectitude, truth, honesty, uprightness, from kindness, 
from forbearance, from patience, from forgiveness, from char- 
ity. Encourage the very incipient beginnings of repentance 
on the part of offenders, by showing that your heart yearns 
and longs to mteet it with forgiveness, with God-like forgive- 
ness, bestowed on the gospel ground of repentance. 

But, children, I fear you will think mother is preaching 
you a sermon, instead of writing a letter. Pardon me, if 1 
have burdened you thus, for you know this is not your moth- 
er's way to teach you Christ's religion. Her way has been 
to practice godliness, and thus endeavor to be a " living 
epistle known and read of all men." But being absent, I 
am under the necessity of taking this method of instructing 
you. 

Your mother is doing here as she did at home, trying to 
secure her happiness in doing right ; although by so doing, 
I often offend others by becoming thus a " terror to the evil 
doer, as well as a praise of them that do well." 

I can not express how much I regret the course your father 
has taken in separating me from your society and sympathy. 
But he is alone answerable for a great wrong by so doing. 
0, how I do rejoice now that I never wronged that man. J 
beg of you to do the same. Keep clear of guilt, however 
much he may tempt you. Remember, that to be angry, is 
but to punish yourself for another's fault. Love yourselves 
too well to do it, for you can not be really happy if you sin 



MY FIRST PAPER 119 

in the least thing. I do feel deeply sorry you hare so deso- 
late a home. But be patient, and all will be right some 
time. Never do the least thing but what you would be will- 
ing the whole world should know of it, for even your motives 
will all be revealed and exposed, either to your shame or 
your glory. 

This fact rejoices my heart ; for could the world see my 
heart as it is, as God sees it, naught but love and good will 
to all mankind, to every individual, could be found there. 
Time will develop that even my persecutors can not find a 
truer friend to them than I am none more ready and impa- 
tient to forgive them, if they will but repent. 

Don't be discouraged or disheartened, although the dark- 
ness which envelops us is so dense as to be felt, for these 
clouds are about to break in blessings on our heads. "Be- 
hind a frowning Providence he hides a smiling face." Do 
your routine of duties faithfully, as you used to do when 
I was your guardian, and God will take care of our destiny. 
I do fully believe he is now working for us, in the best pos-- 
sible manner. "When we do meet, shan't we have enough to 
talk about? Won't we have "good talking times," as you 
used to say, when you sat in a circle about me, to hear me 
tell you true stories about my childhood ? But good by, for 
the present. Your loving mother, 

E. P. W. P. 



XX. 

How I obtained my first Writing Paper. 

On March 9th, 1861, I was allowed to pack the trunk of 
one of my most intimate associates in my ward, Mrs. Bet- 
sey Clarke, who was to leave the next morning with her 
son, who had come for her. "While packing it I had the good 
fortune to find four sheets of letter paper which had escaped 
the supervisor's notice. My good friend readily consented to 



120 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

let me have it in exchange for some articles of my wardrobe 
which she needed, and thus I, an Asylum prisoner, became 
the honest owner of four sheets of paper ! a prize almost in- 
valuable to me. 

Hitherto all my efforts to obtain a sheet of paper had been 
futile, since the Doctor had given a general order to all the 
employees not to let me have paper or stationery of any kind 
after he had consigned me to this maniac's hall. I had writ- 
ten before this time on tissue paper, margin of newspapers, 
cotton cloth, or brown paper and such like, and had handed 
clandestinely letters written on these materials to the trus- 
tees and Dr. Sturtevant. our chaplain, and retained copies of 
the same on the same materials where I now find them 
With these helps I had kept a private journal, too, from 
which the facts of this book are compiled. Now, with these 
three sheets, I felt, under the circumstances, richer than 
any fortune could have made me. I wrote with a pencil ve- 
ry fine, so that I wrote two or three times the number of 
written lines as were ruled, so that I put a wonderful amount 
of matter on a very small surface. 

Mrs. Hosmer, the sewing room directress, knowing how 
eagerly I watched her sewing-room to get such writing ma- 
terials, ventured to try an experiment to gratify this wish on 
my part. Being a strict observer of all the rules of the house, 
she could not aid me in this desire without the Doctor's con- 
sent. She therefore bought a pocket diary, and asked Dr. 
McFarland's permission to make me a present of it on " New 
Year's." He consented, and I thus became the honest owner 
of another treasure of inestimable value. I used this most 
faithfully for one entire year, and had just written my final 
entry for the last day of December, and was just returning it 
into my bosom, its safe hiding place for one whole year, when 
lo 1 my door was suddenly and unexpectedly pushed open by 
the Doctor in his velvet slippers ; he thus caught me, before 
my treasure was out of sight. He sprang towards me and 
seized it forcibly from my hand, before I could get it into ray 
bosom, and sitting down began to read aloud from it, in spite 



AN HONORABLE ACT. 121 

of my protests against his seeing my private meditations. He 
made fun of some portions ; others he tore spitefully, from 
the book, saying as he did so "that is a lief' 1 I begged that he 
would return it without tearing it. But he heeded nothing 
I said, either in defence of its truth, -or of my claim to it, as 
by his consent I had obtained it. But instead, put it into his 
vest pocket, and walked off with it. This is the last I ever 
saw of this part of my Asylum diary. My journal covering 
this period is complete. 



XXI. 
An Honorable act in Dr. McFarland. 

Mrs. Sullivan, a sane woman, was put in here by her drunk- 
en husband, on the plea of insanity. She was brought hand- 
cuffed, and half of the hair pulled out of her head. Of course 
the husband's testimony must be credited, for who could de- 
sire more to protect a woman than he ? Yes, Mr. Sullivan, 
the warm-hearted Irishman, showed his regard for his wife in 
the same manner that Mr. Packard, and many other husbands 
do, by legally committing her to Dr. McFarland's protection, 
who, so far as my knowledge extends, has never yet been 
true to this sacred trust. 

This quick tempered Irishman had a quarrel with his wife, 
because she asserted her inalienable right to a pair of new 
shoes, and he being the stronger of the two in physical force, 
got her handcuffed, and pulled out the hair from half her head 
with his own hand, and forced her in here as soon as the 
" forms of law" could be gone through with. And what could 
Mrs. Sullivan do in self-defence ? All her representations 
would be listened to as the ravings of a maniac ! What is her 
testimony worth after the "forms of law" have been gone 
through with, proving her insanity? Mrs. Sullivan is legal- 
ly entered as an insane person, on legal testimony ; and now 
the Doctor is shielded in doing what he pleases with her, for 
F 



122 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

what is an insane person's testimony- worth ? Nothing. Thus 
shielded, he applies his instruments of torture to this oppress- 
ed bleeding heart, for the benevolent purpose of making her 
willing to return to her husband, and yield unanswering 
obedience to this martial subjection ! Yes, his benevolent 
plan is at length achieved, and he soon succeeds in making 
her so much more wretched and forlorn then before, that her 
former woes and wrongs sink in to oblivion in comparison, and 
she begins to cry and beg to go home. " 0, take me back to 
my children and husband, and I will bless you forever." Now 
his patient is recovering ! 0, what an astonishing cure 1 "How 
much that great. Dr. Me Farland knows more than any other 
man the secret of curing the insane wife !" 

But the cure must be sure and permanent, before her case 
is represented as fit for removal. She has not yet performed 
her share of unrequited labor for the State of Illinois, as its 
slave ; and if she is a good and efficient workman, there may 
be weeks, months, years of imprisonment yet before her, ere 
her cure is complete ! Now the doctor is the only competent 
one to report her case to her friends or husband. No attend- 
ant's report can be relied upon, much less the prisoner 
herself. All communication is cut off, and the slave has 
naught to do but to work and suffer in silent, mute submis- 
sion to her prison keepers. She dare not utter a complaint, 
lest the tortures be again resumed. Her children may sicken 
and die, but she must know nothing about them. Indeed, 
she must be dead as to earth life, until her share of slave 
toil is completed. And if very useful as a slave, she may 
possibly get the diploma of " hopelessly insane " attached to 
her name as an offset for these many years of slavery ! And 
then the friends solace themselves, that the very best means 
of cure have been used, since none so skillful as the learned 
Dr. McFarland can be found any where ; and although they 
deplore the fate of an all wise Providence, yet, to Dr. 
McFarland their heartfelt gratitude will be most signally 
due, for the kind, humane treatment he bestowed upon her, 
by having done all that human ingenuity could devise, to 



AN HONORABLE ACT. 123 

cure her ! A true and faithful picture of many a real case 
in this Asylum. 

But how did Mrs. Sullivan's case come out? After a time, 
the thought of her poor, defenceless, unprotected children, 
with none but a drunken father to care for them, pressed so 
fearfully upon her maternal sympathies, that she ventured to 
plead to go back to them again. But in vain ! No plea can 
compassionate the heart of her present protector. Her tears, 
her sighs, her entreaties, her arguments, fall unheeded and 
apparently unheard upon his ear, for he will not stop to hear 
a patient's story, however rational or consistent yea, the 
more rational the more unheeded, apparently. She is then 
sent to the wash room or ironing room, and sewing room, and 
compelled to work to drown her sorrow or stifle its utterance. 
But what if her children do need her services more than the 
State? "What does Dr. McFarland care for her children, or 
for the fate of a mother who has been cast off by her hus- 
band ? Nothing. He cares for his own selfish interests, 
and nothing else. If to his view his advantage is gained, 
he will send her home ; if not, he will keep her at work for 
the State ; for the laws of his own suggesting protect him 
from all harm, no matter how much he harms the prisoners. 

After months of faithful labor, he found the tide of the 
house was setting against him, by keeping this sane woman 
so long from her family, and when he dared not resist this 
influence longer, he sent to her husband to take her home ; 
but he would not come for her. And now comes the honor- 
able act on the part of the Doctor. He lent her money and 
sent her home alone. A few days after I ventured to congrat- 
ulate the Doctor on doing so noble a deed, adding, "If what 
I have been told was true, you have represented her in the 
discharge as one who has been falsely represented as insane." 
This creditable part of the representation he indignantly de- 
nied, saying, "No, she came here insane, was cured, and 
sent home." 

"No, Dr. McFarland, she did not come here insane; she 
came here an abused woman shamefully abused by a drunk- 



124 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

en husband. She needed protection, but not punishment, 
such as you have bestowed upon her. But no, the ' lords 
of creation ' must be protected ! or oppressed woman will 
rise and assert her rights, and man then will fail to keep her 
down." "What will men do, when this Government protects 
the married women in their right to themselves? 0, when 
this great Woman Subjector, Dr. McFarland, is exposed, 
where will these men sencf their wives to get them "broke 
in?" 0! where? 



XXII. 
Married Women Unprotected. 

I came here in defence of the same principle that Mrs. 
Sullivan did, with this difference ; she used her right of self- 
defence in a different manner from what I did. She used 
physical force in resisting usurpation ; I did not. I never 
did, nor never will quarrel with any one. I have followed 
Christ's direction, " If thy brother smite thee on the one 
cheek, turn to him the other also." Yes, when my husband, 
only once however, has ventured in his insane anger to lay 
violent hands upon me, I have just quietly yielded, saying, 
while his clenched fist was threatening ma, " Yes, kill me if 
you desire to, I shall make no resistance my natural life is 
of too little value to me, to defend it at the risk of injuring 
you." By thus yielding, his reason was restored to him, and 
he would not harm me. 

Mrs. Sullivan pursued a different mode of self-defence, but 
the issue is just the same in both cases. Our husbands, both 
succeeded in getting us entered here on the plea of insanity, 
and 1, although so perfectly harmless in my mode of self- 
defence, am required to stay three or four times her term of 
imprisonment ! But,0, for woman's sake I suffer it. I will 
try to continue to suffer on, patiently and uncomplainingly, 
confidently hoping that my case will lead community to inves- 



MARRIED WOMAN UNTROTECTED. 125 

tigate for themselves, and see why it is, that so many sane 
women are thus persecuted at this period of the Christian era. 
The sad truth that man has fallen from his noble position of 
woman's protector, and become her subjector, when appre- 
hended, may lead our Government to give protection to the 
identity of the married woman, so that she can be as sure oi 
legal protection, where she does not receive the marital, as if 
she were single. When, therefore, she needs legal protection 
from marital usurpation, she can obtain it directly from her 
Government, as other citizens now can. 

This period of subjection through which woman is passing, 
is developing her self-reliant character, by compelling her to 
defend herself, in order to secure the safety of her own soul. 
That class of men who wish to rule woman, seem intent on 
destroying her reason,- to secure her subjection. If they can 
not really put out this light in her, which so much annoys 
them, they will credit this work as done, by falsely accusing 
her of insanity, and when once branded by Dr. McFarlaud'a 
diploma of " hopelessly insane," they fondly think they can 
keep her under their feet. And this has actually been done 
in many instances, by the help of the Illinois Insane Asylum. 

Instead, therefore, of going to the wash-room to serve the 
State of my adoption by my labor, I am trying to serve it by 
writing facts and impressions respecting this Institution, 
hoping thus to promote the interests of the State more 
directly, than in any other manner. The evils of this Insti- 
tution are so momentous and aggravating, that my own private 
wrongs seem lost, almost, in the aggregate. And besides, the 
working of this Institution is so carefully covered up. and so 
artfully concealed from the public eye, that the external world 
knows nothing of the " hidden life of the prisoner," within. 
Therefore the journal of an eye witness taken on the spot, is 
now presented to the public, as the mirror in which' to behold 
its actual operations. It shall be one of the highest aspirations 
of my earth-life, to expose these evils for the purpose of rem- 
edying them. It shall be said of me, " She hath done what 
she could." 



126 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Since the emancipation of the slave, the most unprotected 
class of American citizens are the wives of such men as claim 
subjection to be the law of marriage. The subduing husband 
has it in his power to make his partner the most abject slave 
in the universe, since the laws protect him in so doing. 
Since the common law of marriage deprives the married 
woman of her individual identity, she has therefore no chance, 
while her husband lives, to defend her inalienable rights 
from his usurpation. Even her right of self-defence on the 
plane of argument is denied her, for when she reasons, then 
she is insane I and if her reasons are wielded potently, and 
with irresistible logic, she is then exposed to hopeless impris- 
onment, as the response of her opponent. This is now her 
legalized penalty for using her own reason in defence of her 
identity I 

My husband has not only accepted of my identity as the 
law gives it to him, but he has also usurped all the minor 
gifts included in it. The gift from God, which I prize next 
to that of my personal identity, is my right of maternity, to 
my right to my own offspring, which he claims is his exclu- 
sively, by separating me entirely from them, with no ray of 
hope from him or the law, that I shall ever see them more. 
This is to me a living death of hopeless bereavement. Bereft 
of six lovely children by the will of my husband, and no one 
dare defend this right for me, for the law extends protection 
to such kidnappers. Yes, any husband can kidnap all of his 
own children, by forcibly separating them from the mother 
who bore them, and the laws defend the act ! ! The mother of 
the illegitimate child is protected by the law, in the right to 
her own offspring, while the lawfully married wife is not. 
Thus the only shield maternity has under the laws, is in pros- 
titution. 

Again, my property is all shipwrecked, and legally claimed 
by this usurper. And as I did not hold it in my own name, 
as tho statute laws now allow, I am, on the principle of com- 
mon law, legally robbed of every property right. The hus- 
band does not expose all his rights to usurpation when he 



MY LIFE IMPEKILLED. 127 

marries ; why should he make laws to demand this exposure 
to his wife and daughter ? Are women in less need of 
protection than men, simply because they are weaker, and 
therefore more liable to usurpation ? Nay, verily, the weak- 
est demand the strongest protection, instead of none at all. 
0, when will man look upon woman as his partner, instead 
of dependent ? 0, I do need the protection of law to shield 
my rights from my usurper ; but I have none at all, so long 
as I am a married woman. 

And Dr. McFarland assures me, too, that so long as I 
claim my right of opinion and conscience, no church will 
extend fellowship to me. Therefore, my attempt to follow 
Christ, in holding myself as a responsible moral agent, rather 
than an echo or a parasite, has cast me out of the protection 
of the law, and also out of the pale of the Christian church, 
if what the Doctor tells me is true. "Well, be it so ; I am 
determined to ever deserve the love, respect, confidence, and 
protection of my husband ; and I am equally determined to 
secure a rightful claim to the fellowship of all Christian 
churches, by living a life of practical godliness. 



XXIII. 
My Life Imperilled. 

My life is almost daily and hourly endangered. For ex- 
ample : I was one morning sitting in a side room by myself, 
for the purpose of enjoying my secret devotions undisturbed, 
which privilege the matron had kindly granted, as my own 
dormitory had too many occupants to allow me any opportu- 
nity of praying in secret, and being compelled, however, by 
Dr. McFarland's special order, to have the door of this closet 
wide open, while I occupied it for this purpose, I was com- 
pelled to submit to any such intruders as might chance to 
walk in. Miss Jenny Haslett was one of the two maniacs 
who came in this morning, and seated herself on a low stool 



128 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

at my feet. I was always obliged to carry my chair and foot 
stool with me wherever I sat down, and by this arrangement 
I had my Asylum writing table, my lap, always with me, and 
at these times I made my entries into my journal and diary. 
The other maniac sat on the floor under the window. I quiet- 
ly read my chapter, while Jenny amused herself playing with 
the trimming on the front of my dress. I closed my bible, 
and resting my eyes upon her, reflected upon the sad condi- 
tion of this human wreck of existence before me. She was 
a handsome delicate girl of eighteen years, who was made in- 
sane by disappointed affection, and although generally harm- 
less, yet at times, liable to sudden frenzies, from causes un- 
known. I could often hoar her crying in the dead of night 
for "Willie, 0, my dear Willie ! do, do, come back to me 
Willie ! Willie ! I do love you !" 

It may be that I aroused some antagonistic feeling, and 
disturbed some pleasant reverie of hers, when I bent forward 
and with my hands parted the short hair which fell over her 
fine forehead, and then bestowed upon it a gentle kiss of ten- 
der pity. In an instant the response- came, in a blow from 
her clenched fist upon my left temple, of such stunning force, 
that for a moment I was lost to consciousness ; for the blow 
seemed more like the kick of of a horse, than the hand of a 
human which inflicted it. My spectacles were thrown across 
the room by the blow, but I was not thrown from my seat. 
As soon as I realized what had happened, I returned her 
fiendish gaze with a look of pity, and exclaimed. " Why 
Jenny, you have struck me !" 

11 Yes, and I am going to knock your brains out !" said she, 
with furious emphasis, and clenched fists. 

Without speaking again, I quietly and calmly withdrew in- 
to the hall, where I found my kind attendant, Miss Minerva 
Tenny, whose quick perception read the tale, and without 
my speaking a word, she exclaimed, " 0, Mrs Packard, what 
a wound you have got upon your temple ! What has hap- 
pened ?" " Jenny has struck me ; please get me some cold 
water to bathe it in." "You will need something more than 



MY LIFE IMPERILLED. 129 

water, it is a terrible blow 1 I will go for Dr. Tenny." Af- 
ter bringing me the water, she went for him, and he, like a ten- 
der brother, came and pitied me, and while I rested my throb- 
bing head against his strong manly arm, I wept for joy at the 
comfort his words of pity brought with them to my forsaken 
heart. "Dr. Tenny, can you protect my life ?" 

" Mrs Packard, I would protect you if I could, but, like you, 
I am a subordinate ; my power is limited." 

"Will not the state be held responsible for these exposures 
of my life, to which Dr. McFarland subjects me ? I think 
this appeal ought to be made." 

Without answering this question he insisted that he would 
do all he could to help and protect me. And he did do so. 
I think Dr. McFarland was restrained by his manly interfer- 
ence. Still, the citadel of his heart was not reached either 
by Dr. Tenny's or my own appeals, to remove me to some 
safer ward ; and never shall I forget the heartless response 
he made, as he, the next day when, for the first time, he be- 
held my swollen face and throbbing temples, as I lay in agony 
upon my bed, from the effects of this injury, after I had 
told him all the circumstances, how I simply bestowed upon 
her forehead a loving kiss as the only provocation, he simply 
remarked, as he turned away " It is no uncommon thing to 
receive a blow for a kiss !" These were the only words eith- 
er of sympathy or regret I got from the Doctor, although the 
wound was then in such a state of great inflammation that Mrs. 
McFarland expressed herself, "you may consider yourself 
fortunate, Mrs. Packard, if you do not now lose your eye as 
the result." For weeks I carried the marks of this blow, by 
a deep black temple and eyes, so that a stranger would hard- 
ly have recognized me during this period. 

But instead of shielding me better after this, he not only 
let Jenny remain in the ward, but he afterwards brought up 
Mrs. Triplet, from the Fifth ward, and from this time she, the 
most dangerous patient in the whole female wards, was seated 
by my side at the table. I seldom seated myself at the table 
after this, without hearing the threat from Mrs. Triplet, " I 
F2 



130 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

shall kill you !" And I considered myself very fortunate if 
I left the table without being spit upon by her, or by having 
her tea, or coffee, or gravy, or sauce thrown upon my dress. 

At one time my right hand companion was suddenly 
aroused to the attitude of self-defence, by having a knife 
hurled at her temples or eyes, by one of our insane compan- 
ions opposite. This aroused others to seize their knives and 
forks and chairs, in self-defence, and there is no knowing 
what a scene might have ensued, had not our attendants 
been on hand to confine the infuriated ones. There is no 
knowing at what instant these scenes may occur, for I have 
often seen them, without the least apparent provocation, 
suddenly seize the tumblers, salt-cellars, plates, bowls, and 
pitchers, and hurl them about in demoniac frenzy, so that 
the broken glass and china would fly about our face and eyes 
like hail stones. 

The defence which maniacs resort to is, rendering evil for 
evil, abuse for abuse, so that the beginning of a scene among 
twenty-five or thirty of them is no telling what the end may 
be. And yet this institution receives such, and puts them 
all into one room, while the family plead that one is too dan- 
gerous to trust in a family ! What would they think to have 
twenty-five in one family? For more than two years has Dr. 
McFarland imperilled ray life, by compelling me to occupy a 
ward among this class, not knowing at what moment my life 
might be taken away, or I receive some distressing injury. 
Many times have I made the most touching appeals to him 
to save my life; but even before I could finish my sentence, 
he would turn and walk indifferently away, without uttering 
one syllable. Once alone do I find recorded, that he deigned 
a reply, which was under these circumstances. Lena, a 
stage actress, who had become insane from a fall through the 
stage platform, had been dragging me around the ward by 
the hair of my head, and unless the attendant had been near 
to aid me, I might not have been able to extricate myself 
from her grasp at all. Lena had, like Jenny, always seemed 
pleased to have me notice and caress her, as was my habit 



MY LIFE IMPERILLED. 131 

with them all who would allow it, until this time, when she 
turned upon me and treated me as I have described. After 
stating these facts, I added, " Now, Doctor, I think a sane 
person is more in danger than the maniacs, for they will fight 
back, while I will not." 

"Supposing," said he, u a person should enter your room 
with a loaded pistol and aim it at you, and you had one by 
you which, by your using first, could save your own life, 
would you not shoot to save yourself? " 

"No, Doctor, I would not; because my nature does not 
prompt me to defend myself in this manner. I have such an 
instinctive dread of taking the life of another, that I would 
rather die myself than kill another." 

"I should, and I think everyone would do the same in 
self-defence." 

"I presume you would, and so would most men, for they 
were made to be the protectors and defenders of the weaker 
sex, and the man who would not do it in defence of a de- 
fenceless woman, is less than a man." 

However, I could not convince the Superintendent that he 
was under any obligation to defend my life, and unless I had 
strength and courage enough to defend it myself, I must die; 
for so far as convincing him that he had any responsibility 
about the case, it was impossible to make him comprehend it. 

In view of such facts as these I should not be at all 
surprised, if, when the thoughts of the heart are revealed, 
it will then be manifest that he placed my life thus in jeopardy 
among maniacs, hoping they might kill me ! 1 There is no 
fathoming the vast depths of his wickedness. I do not be- 
lieve there i$ anything he could not be induced to do, if he 
felt that his self-promotion demanded it. His conscience 
would interpose no barrier to the perpetration of any act of 
inhumanity which he thought his popularity demanded. 



132 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XXIV. 
Hope of Dr. McFarland's Repentance. 

(FKOM MY JOURNAL.) 

My only hope of Dr. McFarland lies in his repentance. 
Mrs. Hosmer says, "The Doctor is a villain." I have been 
free to admit, from what I know of him, that he is a very 
cruel, unfeeling man. Still, unlike Mrs. Hosmer, I believe 
in repentance, and my only hope of him lies in this principle. 
Saul was once a very cruel man, but repentance saved him. 
And hope is not utterly extinct, that Dr. McFarland may yet, 
like him, repent. 

Mrs. Hosmer says she can tell facts of his treatment of 
patients here, to her knowledge, which would make my flesh 
creep to hear the recital of. She thinks "as he has been, he 
still is, and will continue to be." When I bring up proofs of 
his being different in some respects from what he was before 
I reproved him, she insists upon it that these are only false 
appearances, assumed as a disguise to delude me and others 
into the belief that he has repented. She says the attendants 
who are humane, are not so owing to the Doctor's influence, 
but to a principle of humanity within themselves. She says 
that the Doctor has practiced this strategic policy so long, 
that he can easily delude and deceive one of as charitable an 
organization as my own. I admit that this may be the case; 
still, 1 think there is more hope in making my appeals to his 
honor, as a handle by which to lead him to repentance, than 
to make him feel that I expect no good of him. In order to 
lead him by his honor, I must feel a degree of confidence in 
the efficiency of this principle, or I shall be acting* a double 
part myself. I can not make him feel that I have hopes of 
him, while I have none, without being a hypocrite. I feel 
that the secret of true love lies in winning rather than in 
driving the soul to Christ. By patient continuance in well 
doing, I wait for the bright fruition of the sustaining hope 
that he will yet repent sincerely; that he will turn from his 
wickedness and live a different life. I do Ions; to see him 



"YOU SHOULD RETURN." 133 

brought to an acknowledgment of the truth, before I leave 
this Asylum. 

I have reason to think his wife is already able to see the 
fallacy he is trying to sustain in calling me an insane person. 
She said to me, "you never would have been permitted to 
enter this institution had we known what we now do." This 
to my mind is saying, " we do not consider you a fit subject 
for this institution, on the ground of your being insane, 
nor have we reason to believe you have been so at home." 
She told me that Dr. Sturtevant's course towards their minis- 
ter, Mr. Marshall, had done much to open her eyes to the 
truth. As much as to say, " if human creeds can so influence 
one man to trespass upon the rights of another, may they not 
have influenced Mr. Packard to trespass on the inalienable 
rights of his wife." 

I intend Dr. McFarland shall never hereafter have occasion 
to reproach me for not having warned him, and used all avail- 
able means to bring him to repentance. He shall have occa- 
sion to say of me as Belshazzar said of Daniel, when the de- 
struction cume upon him, of which the faithful prophet warned 
him "0, Daniel. Daniel, would that I had heeded thy warn- 
ing before it was too late !" In short, I intend to do my du- 
ty to Dr. McFarland and leave results with God. 



XXV. 
'You should Return to your Husbaud." 

One day in my extreme distress I presented the following 
note to Dr. McFarland. "My Brother in Christ, I am suf- 
fering a temptation from the powers of darkness to swerve 
from my purpose of holy obedience to God's revealed will. 
As a sister in Christ, in deep affliction, I began interest in 
your prayers that my faith fail not. Your sister, in Christ, 
E. P. W. P." 



134 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

After glancing at it, and reading so far as " to swerve from 
my purpose of holy obedience," &c, he feelingly inquired, 
"What do you mean by your temptation?" 

" I feel only tempted to complain of my lot, and to impa- 
tiently wish to be delivered out of the power of my persecu- 
tors. Doctor, I do so want my freedom ! But I am not 
tempted to desire it at the expense of my conscience, that is, 
I am not tempted in the least by a desire to return to my 
husband, nor could any influence tempt me to do this deed, 
since for me it would be a sin against God to do so." 

""Well, to pray for you I want to do for you! what can I 
do?" 

" Do right ; by letting me have my liberty to support my- 
self, as other wives do who cannot live with their husbands." 

" The only right course for you is to return to your hus- 
band, and do as a true woman should do ; be to him a true 
and loving wife, as you promised to be by your marriage vow, 
unto death, and until you do consent to do so, there is no pros- 
pect of your getting out of this place ! for until you will give 
up this insane unreasonable notion of your duty forbidding it, 
I consider this institution the proper place for yon to spend 
your days in, for you must be maintained somewhere, by char- 
ity, if it is not true as you pretend that you have helpers 
outside who promise you pecuniary aid, but give neither you 
nor me any guarantee to that effect." 

" I do not feel that I am an object of charity so long as I 
have health and abilities to render me self-reliant ; although 
I know my situation is a very unpleasant one for a woman, 
reported to be lost to reason, to contend with. For who will 
desire or employ an insane person as housekeeper, cook, nurse 
or teacher ; still I could try, and if I did not succeed I could 
drop into a poor-house, such as tho laws of the state provide 
for the indigent to die in." 

" What poor-house ?" 

" Jacksonville, if I could get no further." 

" No, you have no claim there." 

" Manteno, then." 



"YOU SHOULD RETURN." 135 

"No, you are not a woman who can be trusted, for your 
own conduct here has proved you to be entirely unworthy of 
trust or confidence. You have abused the trust I have re- 
posed in you, and betrayed me in every possible way, by mis- 
representation and abuse. You have proved to me, that you 
are all that your husband represents you to be, that he is an 
injured and abused man, and you are a worthless woman, for 
it is impossible for your husband to be such a man as you rep- 
resent him to be and sustain the spotless character, as a 
minister, which he does, and always has." 

"Don't I know, Doctor, a little more of his private charac- 
ter, as a husband, than any other one ? and is it not possible 
for one to assume a false character abroad? Have not the 
fall of many good men, reported above censure, proved that it 
is sometimes the case ?" 

" No, I think it is impossible for your account of him to be 
a true one, and I regard this institution as the only fit plaoo 
for you, so long as you are not willing to return to him." 

"Is it right, here in America to coerce a woman's con- 
science, compelling her to do what she believes to be wrong? 
My views of my personal duty is my rule for me, as your 
views are for you. I regard it as persecuting Christianity 
thus to treat me, and that the cloak of insanity is the only 
legalized popular mode of doing it at the present day." 

" No, Mrs. Packard, you are talking unreasonably, in an 
insane manner, and all reasonable people will call it so, for 
you to so represent duty ; and so long as you hold on to these 
views, there is no hope for a change that I can see." 

"Now I understand you. Now I am satisfied, for the real- 
ity, however painful, is far less unbearable than suspense. I 
now know what Mrs. Hosmer told me is true, although I was 
loth to believe you were so entirely lost to justice and honor. 
She said there was no hope of my getting out of this institution 
so long as you superintended it." 

" Did Mrs. Hosmer eay so ?" 

" She did." He then tried to qualify what "he had said. He 
did not seem to like to have me cherish that view exactly, 



136 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

but how he meant to qualify it I could not understand. I 
know that the utterance of simple unqualified truth is the 
hardest language which can be employed. 

But on this simple weapon of naked truth I intend to rely 
for my own defence arid protection. The world may credit 
or discredit my statements, just as they please ; my responsi- 
bility is done with the utterance of it. The superintendence 
of another's conscience is not my work. God forbid that I 
ever put forth my hand, Uzza like, to steady the conscience 
of another, since I know that God alone claims the right to 
protect his own sacred ark. I intend no man or woman shall 
ever steady my own. This is God's exclusive work. 



XXVI. 
Uncared For. 

(FROM MY JOURNAL.) 

I have been in bed for a few days to rest my brain by sleep 
and sitz-baths. The means have been blessed and I am bet- 
ter. Forab<5ut two weeks I have been afflicted with a head- 
ache most of the time. This is something new for me. I 
scarcely ever had a headache in all my life. Indeed I hardly 
know what pain of body is, I am so blessed with such sound 
and vigorous health. But when the doctor told' me I must 
return to my husband or die here, it cost me a mental struggle 
which has prostrated me upon this sick bed. It is these spir- 
itual wrongs which cause woman so much feeble health, and 
break down the strongest constitution. Knowing this, I must 
try to fortify nature in every possible manner within my reach, 
so that the citadel of my health need not suffer detriment ; 
for if that should fail, I fear my courage would fail with it. 
The degree of faith, trust and confidence I am able to sum- 
mon into this field of action depends much upon the healthful 
vigor and nervous energy I can command. Therefore to keep 
my faith strong, I must keep my health good. 



UNCARED FOB. 137 

But 0, the spiritual pangs Dr. McFarland causes me to 
endure ! it does seem that soul and body must be severed by 
them. Were it not for the "balm of Gilead and the physi- 
cian" there, I must have laid down my life ere this, if agony 
of soul could extinguish it. It does seem to me that I am 
experiencing what my Savior felt when he cried, "If it be 
possible let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, not as I 
will, but as Thou wilt." I feel that I am alone in the gar- 
den of Gethsemane, watching, praying and longing for human 
sympathy in vain to come to my help. But ah ! they sleep I 
Could none, not even one friend come to rescue me out of 
the hands of my enemies? No, none. "No man careth for 
my soul." I must, single-handed and alone, contend for the 
truth in defending the rights of suffering humanity. But I 
can do it. God has not sent me into this field to fight alone; 
no, God and angels are my body-guard and helpers. I will 
fear no evil, for with such helpers, I am invincible to attacks. 
Although my physical strength does suffer, yet the means are 
being blessed, so that the congestion of the brain which I 
feared would cause my death, is now warded off, and I can 
hope that my strength will be equal to sustain the ponderous 
burdens my soul has to bear from the injustice of others. I 
am carried in triumph safely through such perils, and I now 
feel quite confident that my life will not be given as a prey 
to my enemies. I expect to achieve a complete victory over 
my sagacious foes. And although Dr. McFarland has kept 
me nine weary months already, to gratify the wishes of a 
wicked conspiracy ; and although my heart is suffering, and 
I see no prospect of ever getting out of this prison, yet I fear 
not to act the true woman, and simply, quietly wait in pa- 
tience, future developments. 

But 0, my Savior, I must tell thee all. I do so long to be 
with my dear children, that I do want to hasten the day of 
my deliverance, by working hard, and so getting my work 
done the sooner. I do not wish to shirk any duty ; but on 
the contrary, I want to do all my appointed work here well, 
and then go to rest with my children, taking thy blessing 



138 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

with me. For even my children will be to me no blessing if 
secured at the sacrifice of thy favor and smiles. I only want 
God-given blessings, bestowed in God's own way and time ; 
and to secure these I am only required to do right and suffer 
right. 

While encountering Pharaoh's hardness of heart in Dr. 
McFarland, I must, like Moses, meekly suffer, until God de- 
livers me out of his cruel influence. I believe the time has 
come when this hard hearted man must be punished for his 
iniquities. For a long time he has sustained the responsibil- 
ities of his position with honors not deserved. He has for a 
long time been trying to cover up the barbarities of his treat- 
ment of the prisoners, and has succeeded in making it appear 
otherwise. He has so deluded the minds of the Trustees and 
Legislature, by his sophistry and deep, cunning artifice, as to 
secure such laws as protect him in doing his nefarious work 
thus long undetected and unmolested. 

But the "searcher of hearts" can not be deceived or de- 
luded. He can not be controlled by misrepresentations and 
a covert of lies. Lo ! God, himself, by his providence, is to 
bring him to justice ; for after his long forbearance towards 
him, by giving him opportunities and space for repentance, 
he persists in clinging to his sins, instead of repenting of 
them. And now, Pharaoh like, he has sinned away his day 
of grace, so that repentance can not now be accepted and 
pardon secured ; but on the contrary, he must suffer the pun- 
ishment due for his transgressions. The curse which his own 
conduct has secured, must come upon him, and no human 
power can prevent it. I do believe Dr. McFarland is now, 
like Pharaoh, undergoing that hardening of heart process 
which God calls his work ; that is, God will not let him re- 
perrt until he has been punished. In other words, justice, 
stern justice, has taken the place which mercy before occu- 
pied. And when God hardens the heart, no man can soften 
it. Inevitable destruction invariably follows God's hardening 
process. 

I do not now expect to get out of this prison by Dr. 



SELF-DEFENCE. 139 

McFarland's free agencj, but only in opposition to it. A 
stronger than he must first take this Insane palace, and then 
the choice goods of his own manufacture will be in peace and 
safety. 0, my God, hasten that day, for thine Israel, thy 
chosen ones, languish and mourn, deeply mourn their pres- 
ent unholy, wretched condition ! I told Dr. Sturtevant 
the truth yesterday, when I said, " Some of the choicest 
spirits in the universe are here, suffering persecution, under 
the mask of hypocrisy, and the Superintendent here is cruelly 
unjust to us." 

"Then be comforted," said he, "by the fact that 'there is 
nothing covered that shall not be revealed, or hid, that shall 
not be known,' and justice will, in God's own time, be sure to 
come to each, and every one." Dr. Sturtevant, our chaplain, 
does bring to us many heavenly messages, which have been 
to me a great source of comfort and consolation ; my fainting 
spirit has often been revived, and my faith and hope strength- 
ened by his ministrations. 

This hardening process of the heart, such as God claims as 
his work, is only the developing of the real character, which 
character we had previously acquired by our own voluntary 
acts, while we had the liberty to choose for ourselves either 
the good or evil. But when we have reached a certain point, 
the ability to choose the good is supplanted, or, for a time, 
entirely taken from us, so that we can then only choose evil. 
God is then in his way hardening the heart. 



XXVII. 
Self-defence. Clandestine letters. 

The oppressor's guilt renders him peculiarly sensitive to any 
action on the part of the injured one, by way of self-defence. 
Therefore, in order to practice this duty, we are always com- 
pelled to use what some would regard as unjustifiable means. 
And yet, in exchange of circumstances, these complainera 



140 THE PEISONEK'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

would feel no scruples in doing the same thing of which they 
complain. 

Here I am literally entombed alive by fraudulent means, 
for a wicked purpose. The walls of my sepulcher are the 
walls of this Asylum. I am allowed no communication with 
the outside world. No one inside these walls can aid me in 
doing so, without proving recreant to his trust as an employee. 
And no visitor is allowed to take out a letter from a patient in 
a public institution, without the Superintendent's knowledge 
or consent. 

Now what shall 1 do? Shall I quietly submit to these 
unjust laws, framed for the very purpose of perpetuating an 
absolute despotism? I am a law defender ; I do not like to be 
a law breaker, and God is never compelled to violate law to 
bring about His purposes, neither does he allow us to trans- 
gress any moral or natural law, to accomplish our purposes, 
however desirable. When we see no way of getting out of 
a sad dilemma, except that of wrong doing, we are directed 
to " Wait, wait on the Lord," that is, wait until Providence 
opens a way for us. Like the traveller, in pursuing his on- 
ward course, coming in contact with the moving train, has 
nothing to do but to stop and wait until it passes by ; thus 
Providence clears his track, without any law being broken. 
Therefore, however desirable it may seem to me, to be free 
to care for. and communicate with my precious children, yet, 
although this vision tarries long, I must wait until the train, 
however long, passes by, before I can possibly behold this 
prospect. 

Again, I must not murmur nor complain, although 1 am 
most keenly sensitive to the humiliation of my circumstances. 
But I will not bow down to wickedness. I do, and act, as 
well as I know how, and will continue to do so, knowing that 
impossibilities are not required of me by my righteous Judge, 
for I know that every good act is an investment in the bank 
of faith, and its dividends never fall short. I believe too, 
that God requires me not only to pray that wrong doing bo 
stopped, but also to act in concert with this prayer, and the 



SELF-DEFENCE. 14:1 

wrong doing, which it is my duty to stop, are the sins against 
myself. I must begin at home, for lean never defend others 
until I can defend myself ; for how can a mother defend her 
children, unless she can defend herself? I must defend myself 
not only for their sake, but also for the sake of society where 
I belong. 1 have already tried the force of argument, reason, 
and entreaty, to induce Dr. McFarland to allow me some 
chance at self-defence, but all in vain. I can not get his con- 
sent in this matter, therefore, the act being right in itself, and 
a duty also, I must act not only without his consent, but 
without his knowledge. Therefore, under the circumstances, 
a clandestine act of self-defence is not a sinful act because of 
its secresy. 

But who shall I apply to, and how ? are the next questions 
to be settled. I will first appeal to the Trustees, as they are 
the power to whom my earthly destiny is now committed, and 
they have the first right to superintend Dr. McFarland's ac- 
tions, in regard to the prisoners under his charge ; and I feel 
morally bound to try to get the Trustees to compel their Su- 
perintendent to act justly towards me. 

Under the influence of such feelings I wrote the following 
letter to the Trustees, on a piece of tissue paper, which, when 
folded compactly, occupied a space no larger than a silver 
quarter. I knew they were to hold a session at the Asylum 
in March next, 1861, and it was to be my business to get this 
letter to them at this meeting. But here was the difficulty. 
Since, hiding me amongst the maniacs the Doctor had evinced 
a peculiar sensitiveness at my being seen there, which was 
never manifested while I was an occupant of the Seventh 
ward. And he had even led the Trustees past this ward, with- 
out even allowing them to enter it, since he had consigned me 
to it. Now how could I give them my letter, either openly 
or secretly ? No employee would do it for me, lest Dr. McFar- 
land's displeasure be incurred, and then of course, a "discharge" 
awaited them. Still, watching and praying constantly, 
while they were in the house, I carried my little note in my 
pocket, hoping by some good fortune, I might yet get it into 
their hands. 



142 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

At length my name was announced as wanted in the dining 
room. I gladly responded to the call, where I found Mrs. Mc- 
Farland and Mrs. Miner waiting to receive me to hold an in- 
terview with me. Finding it too dangerous to take my call- 
ers into the hall which I now occupied, I was then allowed 
the exposure of my own life to be suspended long enough to 
entertain them in the dining-room. Happy beyond measure to 
find myself in the presence of a trustee's wife, my whole men- 
tal powers were centered upon knowing how to employ her 
as the confidential medium of my letter to the Trustees. But 
the fact was self-evident to me, that Mrs. McFarland had 
come as a spy upon me, lest I should, in some manner, either 
by word or look or letter, communicate to her some intimation 
of the injustice I was experiencing at her husband's hands. 
And so complete was the espionage she exercised, that I be- 
gan to fear that this hope must expire in its bud. When they 
arose to leave, and as Mrs. McFarland's back was towards us 
as she opened the diningroom door, I watched my chance and 
buried this little note in the palm of Mrs Miner's hand, and 
closing her hand upon it, I gave it a significant pressure, as 
much as to say, " don't betray me, but do your duty ;" and at 
the same time kissing her, so that the transfer seemed a per- 
fect and satisfactory success ; that is, I fe/.t sure she under- 
stood my meaning, and was willing to aid me in doing any- 
thing right and consistent. Of course, she could and would 
read the open note before assuming any farther responsibility. 
And from the impression I received of her feelings, I was sat- 
isfied that she would do right about it. But whether I then 
misjudged her, 'Jean not tell, or whether her husband kept the 
letter himself, or communicated it to the Trustees, I know not 
But this I do know, I never heard from the note, or from its 
influence. 

That seed, though thus buried for seven long years, now 
rises to a tangible influence, and by its mute appeal to the 
law-makers who read this letter, it may lead them to see the 
necessity of demanding fidelity in their public officers, to 
whom they have entrusted the sacred right of their personal 
liberty. 



SELF-DEFENCE. 143 

To the Trustees of Jacksonville Insane Asylum, in session 

at their March meeting, 1861. 

GENTLEMEN: Can I hope to get any help from you? Are 
you ministers of justice ? Can the cry of the needy and 
afflicted find in you any response ? Why, 0, why is it that 
oppressed woman can not find in man a natural protector ? 
0, the model man could not turn speechless away when op- 
pressed innocence cried for help. 0, will you, like Dr. 
McFarland, turn a deaf ear to my prayer ? Can you hope 
to be heard when you call in your time of need, if you will ? 
Gentlemen, here under your inspection, a faithful, kind, 
Christian mother, and an Illinois citizen, has been imprisoned 
nearly nine months for simply exercising her God-given rights 
of opinion and conscience ; and this, too, in only a ladylike 
and Christian manner. Nothing else ! 

Now, can you be guiltless and let this persecution go on 
under your jurisdiction? Do remember, and be warned by 
God's unchangeable law, viz: " "With what measure ye mete 
withal, it shall be measured to you again." Do be merciful 
to me that God may be merciful to you. Do allow me to live 
a natural life in America, so long as my own actions allow me 
a claim to my own freedom. Do deliver me out of the hands 
of Dr. McFarland, for he has claimed to be better than God 
to me, in that he says to me that his judgment is a safer guide 
for me than my own conscience ! I 0, horrible ! And yet I 
am in the absolute power of such a man. Do, I beg of you, 
deliver me from this fear of evil ! Do but give me the oppor- 
tunity, and I will give you my pledge, if necessary, that 
America need no longer be burdened with me, as a citizen, 
than until I can get under the protection of the English 
crown, where I can hope to enjoy my rights of opinion and 
conscience unmolested. 

O, America ! My country, when will you erase the stigma 
you now carry, of having imprisoned an innocent, unprotect- 
ed minister's wife, for simply obeying God, by trying to live 
a life of practical godliness? Shall a woman of America, 
when she consents to become a wife, and to her sorrow finds 
that the man whom she chose to be her protector, has instead, 



144 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

become the subjector of her womanly rights, be compelled to 
leave her offspring motherless, and be entombed alive, in an 
Insane Asylum, simply because there is no power in the laws 
of the land to protect her against the despotic will of her 
husband? 0, when will my countrymen fear God, more than 
they do the oppressor ? 

Gentlemen, action, investigation, is demanded of you, by 
this appeal, in order that your souls be found guiltless in this 
matter. Dare to do your duty, and God will bless you. 

Your suffering sister, E. P. "W. PACKAKD. 

After receiving the above letter, I think a failure to inves- 
tigate into the merits of the case was in itself a criminal act. 
Ignorance of the state of my mental faculties could no longer 
shield them, for the letter contains a sufficient degree of intel- 
ligence to arouse an investigation to see if what I claimed 
was true or false. But merely " doing not, 1 ' 1 did not extenuate 
their guilt, for the perpetuating of a wrong. It enhanced it; 
for the postponement of a difficult crisis only renders a settle- 
ment more difficult, and the evil consequences more inevitable 
and unavoidably certain. Guilt was daily accumulating by 
each added day of most wearisome imprisonment, and that 
tender babe was being thus deprived of its right to its mother's 
care, and that little flock of tender lambs were daily and 
hourly in suffering need of a mother's care and sympathy. 
Yes, the quicker the settlement, the easier and the better, 
both for them and the injured victims of this most cruel 
conspiracy. Now, they can not clear themselves of guilt, if, 
Pilate like, they do try to throw the responsibility off them- 
selves upon Dr. McFarland. For they know that for his act 
they will be held justly responsible, in the same sense that 
the Superintendent is held responsible for the acts of his em- 
ployees. For my aggravated and enhanced sufferings from 
this time, I hold the Trustees responsible ; for it seemed that 
the Doctor's story was heeded" and mine rejected, thus dele- 
gating an increased power to the Doctor to abuse me, just as 
his upholding Lizzy Bonner in her barbarities, only enhanced 
her power to harm still more. 

Indeed I suffered so much from his tyranny, for nine months 



t 

SELF-DEFENCE. 145 

from this time, that even the sight of the man, or the sound 
or sight of his name, was instinctively and inseparably associ- 
ated with horror in my mind. But the details of this period 
of purgatorial mental anguish, as I find it delineated in my 
journal, it will be impossible for me to give within the limits 
of this volume. I did propose when I projected the plan of 
this book, to give the history of these wrongs in detail to the 
world ; but I shrink from the task. The record of the ada- 
mantine pen God himself will give in his own way and time 
in complete detail. This record can never be obliterated, ex- 
cept by repentance on Dr. McFarland's part for the wrongs I 
have suffered at his hands. I am determined, by God's help, 
now to write my own history in chapters indelible and inde- 
structable in my own honest deeds. 

The following letter to Dr. Shirley, of Jacksonville, written 
during these days of anguish, on sjome cloth, or tissue tea- 
paper which I obtained from the sewing-room, I handed to Dr. 
Sturtevant after chapel service in a manner similiar to what 
I did with my note to Mrs. Miner, except that I confined my 
salutation to a shake of his hand as I slipped the note into it. 
But I am sorry to say I have more reason^to think he betrayed 
me to the Doctor, than I have that Mrs. Miner did, for the 
Doctor told me himself that he had destroyed a ''worthless 
letter" Dr. Sturtevant had given him from me, I doubt not 
but he spoke a truth in making that confession to me, and 
I think it was uttered under the influence of an exultant feel- 
ing which said, " So you see, Mrs. Packard, I can head you 
anywhere ! you are my helpless victim." 

"Never mind, Dr. McFarland, you did then hold me, and 
the letter too, in your power, but now I hold that letter in my 
power, to publish to the world, that my readers may see in 
what its " worthlessness " consisted ; and I hold now myself 
and you too, where the verdict of public sentiment will com- 
pel us both to stand just where our own actions will place us." 
And Dr. Shirley can also see in what estimation I then held 
him. This opinion I based upon an interview I held with 
him in the Doctor's parlor, in company with Mr. and Mrs. 
Jlessing, and as I was personally acquainted with no other 



146 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

man in Jacksonville, I of course made application to him as a 
dernier resort. 

INSANE ASYLUM, March 20, 1861. 

DB. SHIRLEY Kind Sir: Constrained by the law of self- 
preservation, I feel compelled to make an appeal to your 
humanity for help. Yes, help for me, a helpless victim of 
severe persecution. I am sick, and need some human helper, 
for on the side of my oppressors there is power ; yes, power 
to harm, too, yet I have no protection save Omnipotence. My 
heart turns instinctively to you, kind Sir, hoping and trusting 
that the God-like principle of manhood has not become extinct 
in you, and therefore, I have a foundation on which to make 
my appeal. 

Dr. Shirley, I am indeed an injured woman, and my case 
ought to arouse and command an investigation ; at least, so 
far as to grant me some kind of trial, before perpetuating my 
imprisonment any longer. Can you not do. something to se- 
cure me one? I do beg and entreat, with all the power of 
woman's eloquence, that you do deliver me out of Dr. McFar- 
land's hands. He is my oppressor, my unjust and cruel per- 
secutor. He claims that "his judgment is a safer guide for 
me than my conscience." These are his own words; and I 
am in the absolute power of such a man. What protection 
have I under a man who ignores the conscience of his victim? 
Do deliver me from this fear of evil, and my soul shall bless 
you forever. 

And I have given this usurper my written pledge, that I 
shall expose him to the world whenever I get out, unless he 
repents of his inhumanities to the patients. And he knows, 
too, that; I am a truthful woman, and can never break this 
pledge. 

Ask wisdom do your duty and do not yield to the tempta- 
tion to fear to cope with the great Dr. McFarland in defence 
of the injured. Omnipotence will shield you in doing your 
duty. My heart is full, but my means of communication are 
entirely cut off, so far as the Doctor can prevent it. If pos- 
sible, come to me, and I will tell you what I can not, and 



MISS MARY TOMLIN. 147 

dare not write. 0, do let a God-fearing humanity, not a man- 
fearing despotism, control your actions, and I trust heaven will 
protect you. 

In the name of justice, humanity, and of the State, I have 
requested a meeting of the Trustees on my account ; but Dr. 
McFarland's reply leaves me nothing to hope for in that di- 
rection. Still, duties are mine, and events God's. I know 
my life is worth preserving, for the sake of my six children, if 
for no other purpose, and "For me to live is Christ, and to 
die, gain." Still all lawful means I feel bound to use, to pre- 
serve life, and then I can say, God's will be done. 
Your humble, earnest petitioner, 

E. P. W. PACKARD. 

XXVIII. 
Miss Mary Tomlin. A Model 'Attendant. 

I never saw Miss Mary Tomlin abuse a patient, and she was 
my attendant for nearly one year. She, unlike most attendants, 
did not seem to become calous and indifferent towards them, 
because she would not allow herself to do the first unkind act. 
It is very noticeable here that the beginning of wrong doing 
is like^the letting out of water, over the edge of a fountain. 
When the first few drops have trickled over, there is apt to 
be a few more, and a few more, until a deep and broad channel 
is soon formed through which the waters of human kindness 
are allowed to pass into a state of exhaustless annihilation. 
When this groove was once made, it was never closed up un- 
der the Asylum influence. The only security an employee 
or boarder could have of maintaining their integrity, lay in their 
not doing the first wrong act. This was the secret of her 
triumph over the contagion of that most corrupt house. She 
was entered in my ward, and although initiated under our 
most unexemplary attendant, Mrs. De Lallay, she seemed to 
have moral courage enough to allow her own principles instead 
of Mrs. DeLaHay's to control her. 



148 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Miss Tomlin exercised the utmost forbearance and kind en- 
durance of the patient's weakness and frailties, such as I think 
was never surpassed by any attendant. She may justly be 
called a model attendant, so far as the treatment of the patients 
was concerned". Should Asylums secure such, and only such 
attendants, they might justly be called Asylums. I never 
feared for the fate of a patient when Miss Tomlin was in sight ; 
even . Miss Bonner's fierce spirit seemed subdued into temper- 
ate rage by her silent, gentle, but unresistable magnetism of 
kindness and tenderness. I recollect once how I pitied her 
when she called me to see the condition of Miss Sallie'Low, a 
filthy patient, occupying a screen-room at the time, while pass- 
ing through one of her " spells" of excessive fury, where she 
had divested herself of all her clothing, and was standing 
naked when I saw her, with her hands both raised, with all 
her fingers spread, with her mouth wide open in laughter, and 
her large black eyes showing the white on the upper side in 
wildness, her short, heavy, curly black hair standing all about 
her head in bristles, from the salve with which she had an- 
ointed both it and herself completely over, so that her flesh 
was about the color of a monkey. Besides, she had written, 
her marks upon the wall, as high as her fingers could reach. 
My kind attendant instead of being angry at her exulting pa- 
tient, in view of the labor she had caused in cleaning her and 
lier room, only laughed in return, as she exclaimed, " did you 
ever see a human being so much resemble a monkey !" With 
the help of another attendant she took her to the bath-room, 
and after patiently soaking her for a while in the bath-tub of 
warm water, she finally cleaned and dressed her, and intro- 
duced her into our dormitory as a woman who deserved our 
pity, instead of our censure, for " she is not to blame for caus- 
ing me this trouble, and this is what I came here to do, to take 
care of those who cannot take care of themselves." Even 
her bath was administered in such a gentle manner that 
Miss Low, instead of offering resistance, enjoyed the fun first- 
rate, and came from it refreshed and invigorated, instead of 
being exhausted from death struggles such as Miss Bonner 
and such like attendants administered. 



MISS MARY TOMLIN. 149 

It does seem as if the State ought to attach a penalty to 
this perversion of the bath tub in this prison house. Only let 
the law-makers take but one bath here, under the hands of 
these furies, and I think they would vote for some penalty to 
their tormentors. 

But were all the attendants as God-fearing as Miss Tomlin 
and Miss Minerva Tenny, this abuse would never be practiced. 
Such attendants would not misuse a patient if they were re- 
quired to do it, for they fear God more than they do man. 
Miss Tomlin told me of an act of her's this morning, which 
reflects much credit upon her moral courage and integrity. 
The Doctor ordered Miss Goodrich from off her bed, Sunday 
morning, as he passed through, and Miss Tomlin ordered her 
back again, when he had passed out of hearing; for she felt 
that she knew better than he did what her health demanded. 
She said she had concluded to pursue this independent course, 
without talking much about it, hoping thus to evade the rule 
without opposition; when she was complained of^she said, 
she would then give her reasons, and she thought any intelli- 
gent person would be satisfied with intelligent reasons. I 
assured her this was the right course ; still, I was sure it 
would awaken decided opposition, for the more reasonable, 
the more virulent the opposition it would arouse. And so it 
proved. Instead of promoting her, as she deserved to be, 
they willingly allowed her to resign her trusts to others far 
less fitted to honor them. And in defence of this course, I 
heard one of the authorities say. "Miss Tomlin is insane, in 
some respects, like Mrs. Packard!" Her insanity, like my 
own-, consisted in her immovable defence of the principles of 
uniform kindness to the unfortunate. 

Another most kind and faithful employee, Mrs. Hosmer, 
was accused of this same charge of insanity, for the same 
reason. Indeed, one of these authorities remarked, "If we 
could but get Mrs. Hosmer into the wards as a patient, we 
would treat her as we do the maniacs!" This is doubtless 
true, for her persistent regard for the patients' interests, was 
a constant reproof to their own indifference, and aroused the 



150 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

same antagonistic feelings towards her, which my course has 
elicited towards me; and the position of a patient here affords 
a noble opportunity for seeking their revenge in full measure. 

I will close this chapter by inserting here a beautiful para- 
phrase on a passage in Psalms, which Miss Tomlin wrote 
herself, and handed me for my solace. 

" I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness." 

In this dreary vale of sorrow, 

Oft my heart is sick and sore, 
"Waiting for a brighter morrow, 

Waiting, waiting evermore. 

Hope deferred my heart is breaking, 

And I long to be at rest 
Aye I the sleep that knows no waking, 

Would be welcome to this breast. 

Did I say " that knows no waking ?" 

Nay, I would not have it so, 
Better far to bear this aching, 

Than to sleep forevermore. 

But I would awake like Jesus 

Like unto the crucified 
When I'm fashioned in His image. 
Then shall I be satisfied. 
Affectionately your friend, M. TOMLIW. 



XXIX. 
Mrs. McFarland The Matron. 

It is due Mrs. McFarland that I say, that after I gave my 
written reproof to her husband, she seemed to be induced by 
its influence, to see the debased condition the prisoners were 
in, and expressed this feeling in these words: "Mrs. Packard, 
I never realized, until I read your Reproof, what a condition 
we were in. It has led me to determine to do what I can to 
reform some of the many evils which I can now see do exist 
here. We had so insensibly sunk into this condition, that we 



MES. MCFARLAND. 151 

did not realize it until you showed it to us in jour Reproof." 
To Mrs. McFarland's credit it should be .stated, that she did 
try to alleviate the dreadful condition of the patients as much 
as it was possible for her to do. 

After Mrs. Waldo left, she became matron, and she filled 
this office as well as she was capacitated to do. Her kind 
and generous sympathies rendered her a general favorite 
amongst the patients, and atoned greatly for the undeveloped 
woman in some other respects. 

She sympathized with me in many ways, and tried to favor 
me, even in defiance of her husband's known wishes to the 
contrary. One day the Doctor found a carpet upon my floor, 
and as he stood upon the threshold of my room, looking at it 
for the first time, he exclaimed, ""Who has been putting a 
carpet on Mrs. Packard's room? " My attendant, Miss Tom- 
lin, standing by, replied in her very mild tone, "I believe it 
is your wife's work." He said nothing more, but the carpet 
remained on the floor until I left. And it was her influence 
among others, which let me have a room by myself, after one 
year's confinement to the dormitory. I sent a written request 
to the Doctor to let me have a wash bowl and pitcher, but he 
did not notice it so much as to refuse it. But Mrs. McFar- 
land contrived to get me one, and gave me, also, a nice 
curtain to my window, and gave me a chair, too, for my 
room, a great, but rare privilege in the Eighth ward. 

There was one time that the Doctor tried to so torment my 
feelings, that I felt that self-defence required me to withdraw 
all communication of thought with him, to save my feelings. 
Therefore, for months, I would not speak to him, not even so 
much as answer the most common question. Mrs. McFarland 
approved of this course, by saying to me, " "Well, Mrs. Pack- 
ard, I would not speak to him if I were in your place. If a 
man treated me as he has you, I would let him "alone." And 
she told my attendants not to treat me as they did the other 
patients. 

I will here give an extract from a letter I wrote her about 
April 30, 1862 ; " Mrs. McFarland, I have almost unbounded 



152 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

confidence in your womanly nature ; I believe its instincts 
are a safe guide in dictating your duty so far as it goes ; yet, 
I do not regard your judgment as so mature, that experience 
may not improve it. Will you therefore allow me to make a 
suggestion, when I assure you it is made with the purest mo- 
tives, and the kindest feelings of my nature. I am prompted 
to do this, from the assurance I feel that you will allow the 
suggestion all the influence which truth, reason and common 
sense, urge in support of it." etc. 

With regard to the suggestion I then made, together with 
many others, I will only say that, Mrs. McFarland almost 
always regarded them, and did often consult me, as her coun- 
sellor, in her family matters, as well as the interest of the in- 
stitution. 

The reform thus inaugurated, through her agency, led to 
the expression often made during these better days of prison 
life, " this house is a paradise compared with what it has 
been." 

Dr. McFarland seemed to be the last and the hardest one 
to move in this direction ; but satisfied he could not stop the 
wheel of revolution by opposing it, he after a while, allowed 
himself to simply hang as a dead weight upon it, until the 
aristocratic ladies from Jacksonville insulted and ridiculed 
me in my room, when all at once a new spirit seemed to hold 
him, for a time, to be our co-worker, instead of an antagonist. 
This incident will appear in its proper place. There seemed 
to be something in his wife's increasing popularity which con- 
vinced him that it would not be policy to oppose her openly, 
for if he did, she told me she should do as I had done, "ap- 
peal to the Trustees" to sustain her ! Finally, from the in- 
fluence of the outside pressure in favor of reform, the Doctor 
himself thanked me for giving him the reproof, and freely ac- 
knowledged that I intended it for his good. 

Through Mrs. McFarland, as the focalizing agent of this re- 
form, the tide of popular influence seemed to undergo an en- 
tire change. Instead of its being popular to abuse the pris- 
oners, it became more popular to treat thorn with respect and 



MRS; MCFARLAND. 153 

even kindness. And finally, by a change of some bad attend- 
ants for good ones, I began to feel that the evils were becom- 
ing greatly lessened. And so it did appear for awhile. But 
I was everywhere told, " there will be a relapse if you ever 
leave this house, for the Doctor is afraid of you, as the only 
reason why he is making this spasmodic attempt to co-oper- 
ate with his wife." From the Committee's report, and that of 
my personal friends I left in the Asylum, I have too much rea- 
son to fear that so it proved. My friends have assured me 
me that the " reign of terror" commenced anew when I left, 
so that abuse and cruelty again became the rule of the house, 
to a greater degree even than ever before. 

Now I am fully convinced that this temporary reform, so 
far as Dr. McFarland was concerned, was merely the effect 
of policy, rather than principle that he assumed this appear- 
ance merely to satisfy me he had repented, so that I might 
be induced to represent him to the public as worthy of confi- 
dence, on that ground ; for he knew full well, that my con- 
science would not allow me to expose a penitent man's sins, 
however great the magnitude of his previous guilt. I find 
therefore, in my journal, from the time I began to hope he 
was treating the patients on the principles of justice, I have 
been exceedingly careful not to "Break the bruised reed, or 
quench the smoking flax ;" that is, I encouraged every hope- 
ful manifestation to the highest, and fullest extent consistency 
and truth would permit. Many blamed me on this ground, 
that I was too charitable to the poor sinner; but dictated as 
I was by the promptings of my own forgiving nature, I was 
thus inclined to cover more sins with this mantle of charity, 
than some would have thought proper or allowable. I never 
can find it in my heart to blame, where there is the least 
possible chance for encouragement. I aim to "Overcome 
evil with good," instead of attacking evil with evil, where 
there is any possible opportunity of doing so. 

But there are cases where it is a mercy to be just to the 
sinner. Nothing but ruin will save them from ruin: that is, 
they never will repent until they are first punished; and the 
G2 



154 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

just punishment, which I tried so long and effectually to have 
him ward off, was the public exposure of his hidden iniquities. 
But persistency in his sins, has forced me to do, what for a 
time, I hoped I could be excused from doing. 



XXX. 
Guilty Husbands. 

It was sometime in March, 1862, that I entered a kind of 
protest, against this house being used to shield guilty hus- 
bands, in the following letter to Dr. Tenny. 

DR. TENNY Sir: Do bear with me while I give you my 
thoughts upon a subject you may prudishly feel I have no 
right to think, much less to speak or write about ; but where 
woman is suffering injustice, I claim a right to speak in her 
defence. 

I see Mrs. McKellum is returned. I can assure you, Dr. 
Tenny, that as true as Phrenology and Physiology can not 
lie, here is another case of abuse, where the innocent is pun- 
ished, instead of the guilty. It is her husband who ought to 
be imprisoned instead of her, in a penitentiary, and there 
kept until he will subject his passions to the control of his 
reason. He never ought to see a woman, until his reason is 
restored to him, so that he can treat her as a woman, not as a 
brute. 

Dr. Tenny, these men, calling themselves husbands, de- 
grade the very name itself. Science and revelation, both 
foretell their doom. Judge "Wood has caused the ruination 
of his lovely wife. Had justice been done him as it should 
have been, he would have been consigned to a penitentiary 
for having brought her here the first time, when she was not 
in the least insane. Had justice, instead of wickedness tri- 
umphed, Mrs. Wood's little flock would not now have been 
motherless. Because sentence against the wrong doer was 
not speedily executed, this innocent, defenceless wife and 



GUILTY HUSBANDS. 155 

mother was returned to this Asylum, insane, to die a maniac, 
because her husband would not protect her, but tortured her 
into insanity, and that too, when she was in a condition to 
need the tendercst indulgence ! As soon as the husband at- 
tempts to subject his wife as he would a child, that moment 
nature, in woman, revolts, and feels that her obligations to 
that man, are henceforth, forever sundered. He has perjured 
his vow of protection, and her devotion to him is annihilated 
with the subjection. 

Dr. Tenny, the day is not far distant when these unnatural 
men will meet their recompense. In the mean time, " Offen- 
ces will come, but woe be to him by whom they come," and 
woe too, to those who compromise with these vile deeds, as 
this Institution is doing in shielding these women captors. 
That I may wash my hands in innocency, I shall lift up my 
voice, and protest openly against these guilty husbands. 

Yours as ever, E. P. W. P. 

There is great occasion for alluding to the evil designated 
in the above letter to Dr. Tenny. For the public should 
know the fact, that selfish men who hold money and position 
in society, do use this house for a protection of their own 
guilt; and their public servant, Dr. McFarland, knowingly 
allows it to be thus perverted from the charitable design of 
its founders. Even the law of 1865, which was humanely 
designed to hedge up the door against this unjust incarcera- 
tion of married women, has been most arrogantly and wantonly 
disregarded by this public servant ; and his acts seem to say, 
" This house shall be used as a place where vile men can 
subject their wives to the dictates of their base passions!" 
And woman, oppressed and degraded as she was, found no 
refuge even under this law, until the gallantry of the Legis- 
lature of 1867 attached a penalty to it, thus demanding its 
enforcement. 

This statement is corroborated, as my others are, by the 
Investigating Committee's Report. This Committee appointed 
by the Legislature, were instructed to see that this law was 
strictly enforced, hoping in this way to liberate these unhappy 



156 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

victims of marital cruelty, and to effectually guard, henceforth, 
against these unjust, false and cruel imprisonments. 

This Committee, composed of Hon. Allen C. Fuller, Hon. 
E. Baldwin, Hon. T. B. "Wakeman, Hon. A. J. Hunter, Hon. 
John B. Ricks, after a most thorough investigation of the 
records of the Institution, reported that they found one hun- 
dred and forty-eight had been admitted by Dr. McFarland, 
since the law of 1865 was passed, including a period of about 
two years, "without the proper legal evidence of their insanity, 
and the security required by law." Just consider, for a mo- 
ment, the terrible inferential fact herein involved ! If one 
hundred and forty-eight are found" entered during about two 
years' time, without legal evidence of insanity, in defiance of an 
existing law which requires such evidence, what number may 
we conclude were admitted during the fourteen previous years, 
withoid any evidence of insanity, with a law expressly allowing 
this to be done? Has not Illinois a terrible account to settle 
with her married women, who have sufferered so much from 
her unjust law for the sixteen years of its enforcement? The 
honor of the State of Illinois demands restitution for the en- 
forcement of this, not only most ungallant and unmanly, but 
even barbarous law against the married women of her State. 
Now if Illinois should dare to become the pioneer State in 
the emancipation of her married women from their slavish 
position of nonentity, she might, by so doing, not only erase 
this dishonorable stain upon her history, but also immortalize 
herself in thus securing her right to then be, what she now 
professes to be, a freedom loving State. 

Again, in view of such facts, it well becomes every voter of 
the State to inquire, whose personal liberty, personal rights are 
safe in Illinois, while such an unmanly and unprincipled man 
as Dr. McFarland holds the key of this great prison house ? 
This public officer has so long been in the habit of overriding 
and disregarding all law, both human and divine, in the treat- 
ment of his prisoners, that he has schooled himself to feel 
that he is the Institution over which "my policy" is the su- 
preme and only law ; in the same sense that some allege 



THE SANE KEPT. 157 

that President Johnson seems to act as though he was the 
United States, and "my policy" is the Constitution! 

Thus it is evident that false imprisonment in Jacksonville 
Insane Asylum, was the dreadful doom which overhung every 
citizen of Illinois, until their Legislature of 1867 attached a 
penalty of fine or imprisonment, or both, to the Superinten- 
dent who should hereafter receive any inmate without legal 
evidence of insanity. Indeed, confident as I was, that this 
public servant was constantly admitting inmates, regardless 
of even the "forms of law," I could not find it in my heart 
to suffer this awful doom thus to overhang the wives and 
daughters of Illinois, without doing what I could to avert it. 
And I thank God, the effort has proved a complete success; so 
that now, no guilty husband of Illinois can longer hide his 
sins against the wife of his bosom behind the "dead locks" 
of Jacksonville Insane Asylum. 



XXXI. 
The Sane kept for the Doctor's Benefit. 

The remark Miss C. L. English, a good attendant, from 
Chandlerville, Cass Co., 111., made, conveys an important 
truth which the taxpayers ought to know viz. " It is plain- 
ly to be seen, the Doctor keeps sane people here from choice, 
to serve his private interests, knowing that the unrequited 
labor he gets out of them he can turn to his aggrandizement 
in his report of the finances of the institution." Yes, all this 
slave labor turns to his advantage as he reports it, thus buy- 
ing their patronage, as it were, to secure his salary. This 
salary is thus earned for him by his slaves. His own action, 
or rather his inaction, shows that he is almost totally indiffer- 
ent to the interests of his prisoners, only so far as his inter- 
ests can be promoted by an assumed regard for their interests. 
He does not seem to care how many hearts he breaks with an- 
guish, nor how many choice spirits he crushes into annihila- 
tion, if so be he can rise on their downfall. 



158 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

But, 0, Dr. McFarland, you can not kill a spirit ; it lives 
after all you have done to destroy its existence, and in a body 
too, which God gave it to inhabit. All this terrible array of 
broken, crushed hearts, which you vainly think you have de- 
stroyed forever, are all alive, and are now marshalling in 
dread array to work out your long merited doom. 

The faithful hard working Kate has well earned her $2.30 
a week, if any female attendant earns that amount by her 
work. She has been as sane a worker as any attendant in 
the house ever since I knew her, and I am told she had been 
just as competent and useful for many months before. And 
Kate is only one of scores of others of like type. And if they 
are ever discharged after these years of unrequited labor either 
their friends or the county will be required to pay the insti- 
tution, in addition to all this unrequited toil, all that their 
clothing has cost them, besides the bill charged for making it, 
even if the patient has cut and made every stitch of it her- 
self! How much more profitable to the pecuniary interests 
of the State is this robbing of its citizens, than it would be to 
pay their just debts ! If it were not for this slave labor, the 
State would be compelled to have double the number of at- 
tendants to do all this work, which it now gets as a gratuity 
out of its prisoners. 

Dr. McFarland is a good financier for the State in this par- 
ticular, but a miserable one for the interests of' the state's- 
prisoners under his care. If the State wish the interests of 
its unfortunates cared for, they must get some other person 
than Dr. McFarland to do this deed for them, or it never will 
be done. He knows that the pecuniary interests of the state 
demand such large pecuniary resources also, to meet the im- 
mense destruction of state property which is constantly going 
on, through his stolid indifference. Could the state but be 
allowed to know the management as it really is, not as the 
Doctor reports it to be, thy would be horror struck at the ex- 
travagant, unnecessary and unreasonable amount of property 
destroyed here, merely as the legitimate result of this insane 
management. The rules as they are practically carried out 



THE SANE KEPT. 159 

are unreasonable and unjust in the extreme. The property 
is wantonly destroyed oftentime as the legitimate result of 
of this cruel injustice. There is no other manner in -which 
they can express their just indignation of the power which 
is thus oppressing them. Therefore the amount of property 
unnecessarily destroyed, which is daily going on here, might 
relieve the wants of thousands who stand in perishing need 
of the comforts it might furnish for them. 

0, Illinois ! State of my adoption, when, when will you 
look intelligently, with your own eyes, into the practical op- 
eration of your Insane Asylum system, as it is now being 
practiced in your State Institution at Jacksonville? Never, 
never, will you see it as it is, until you can look at it through 
some other medium than Dr. McFarland or his Reports. 

Just consider how unjustly I am treated here. Here my 
good, firm health is suffering from my close confinement; and 
in duty to myself I reported my state to Dr. McFarland, and 
asked if I could not be allowed fifteen minutes exercise in the 
open air daily, without an attendant, and he denied my re- 
quest. I then concluded I would avail myself of the laws 
of the house, and go to the wash house or ironing rooms, and 
there work for the State, that I might thus secure the exer- 
cise and fresh air my health demanded. But lo ! here I am 
met with Dr. McFarland's strict command not to let me out 
for this purpose, while other prisoners can go at their option. 
I have not done any thing to forfeit my right to this privi- 
lege, guaranteed by law to the prisoners, to my knowledge, 
or to the knowledge of any other one. And yet Dr. McFar- 
land has just as good a reason for denying me this right, as 
he had for removing me from the best ward to the worst. 
Neither I nor any other one in the house have ever known 
his reasons for thus treating me ; but on the contrary, we 
know that he had no right or excuse for doing so. Nothing 
but sovereign, arbitrary rule dictates his course of treatment 
towards me. Yes, he is ruling me with a rod of iron, and I, 
in my deeply sensitive nature, am suffering protracted martyr- 
dom at his hands. 



160 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

1 this lingering, terrible death of crucifixion ! Could not 
the wrath of man have been appeased by something less ex- 
cruciating? O, no. Despotic man must not only trample 
helpless woman under foot, but he must heighten her anguish 
by the stings of injustice. Oh, how many of these torturing 
stings my bleeding heart has felt, within the last seven 
months! Were it not for the "balm of Gilead, and the 
physician there," these stings must have proved fatal to my 
soul, to whose death alone were these darts directed. 0, 
Jesus, if these fires rage so furiously in the green tree, what 
must be expected from the dry? "For the fire shall try 
every man's work, of what sort it is." 

At the request of Mrs. McFarland, the Doctor finally con- 
sented to my going into the sewing room for one-half day 
each day, while other prisoners can go all day, if they choose. 
Thus, by sewing for the State, as its imprisoned slave, I can 
buy the privilege of exchanging the putrid, loathsome air of the 
ward, for the more wholesome, purer atmosphere of the sewing 
room for half a day. But instead of this being a relief, it 
seems to be only an aggravation of the evil, for the air of the 
hall seems doubly grievous and unendurable by contrast, and 
the incessant noise and uproar of the maniacs, seems height- 
ened every time I return to the roar of the tempest after a 
short calm. 

1 think I can well pay my way, by making a vest or a pair 
of pants daily, to swell the aggregate of Dr. McFarland's 
report of the pecuniary profits arising solely from this slave 
labor. This is my only alternative to get better air for my 
health ! If I were a male prisoner, I might perhaps be 
allowed, under a watchful keeper, to go on to the Doctor's 
great farm, and hoe his corn and potatoes, with his sixty other 
day laborers, which this house furnishes for his exclusive ben- 
efit. And thus, by Dr. McFarland's granting me the right 
to breathe the fresh air of heaven, I might help fill his coffers, 
by my unpaid labor. I might thus help Dr. McFarland to 
publish his benevolent deeds to the world, that he gives to 
the poor around him yearly, a bushel of potatoes from his own 



THE SANE KEPT. 161 

farm ! Or it might help to buy some of the costly wines, and 
cigars, and confectioneries with which the Asylum feast ta- 
bles are loaded, at the State's expense, to the credit of Dr. 
McFarland's great hospitality ! Yes, it may pa.y for the 
intoxicating drinks the company of soldiers to which his 
oldest son belonged, used on that memorable occasion, when 
they, after this drunken debauch, stalked through our halls, 
headed by their drunken leader, to see us, the boarders of the 
house, put off with nothing but bread and molasses to eat, 
and nothing but a single saucer left to eat it from ; for we 
were deprived of every cup, spoon, knife and fork, and chair, 
to supply the table of Dr. McFarland's guests. If we could 
have had one raisin, or cake, or candy, or apple, or any thing, 
left in the shape of fragments from that groaning table of 
luxuries, in exchange for the vegetables, strawberries, butter, 
sugar, and tea, they took from our table, we should have felt 
better satisfied. 

I could not help sympathizing with the remark made by 
our kind attendant, Miss Tomlin, on the well remembered 
occasion as we stood around our table, dipping our bread into 
our black molasses, the Doctor seemed inclined to shut this 
scene from the soldiers' view who followed after ; but Miss 
Tomlin, instead of granting this wish, said, as she opened the 
door " No, let them see us as we are; let them see how our 
table comforts compare with their own I " It may help too, 
to pay for the costly wine which Mrs. Coe told me she had 
seen carried, by the pail full, into the chamber of this elder 
son, to treat his companions with, taken from the Asylum 
storehouse of luxuries, charged for the " good of the patients." 
Seldom, very seldom, did a drop of these wines ever pass the 
lips of a patient, for his " good" or evil either. 

Dr. McFarland's mode of " impressing " free citizens of 
these United States into his service is truly profitable, if not 
novel, in that it pays him well, as a public financier. 



162 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XXXII. 
An Unpleasant Response. 

The response I got to the congratulation I gave Dr. Me- 
Farland to-day, on his return from his Chicago trip, pains me 
a little. His wife standing by, I said " we welcome your re- 
turn ; still, we congratulate you on being able to leave the 
superintendence of the house in so good hands as your wife's, 
in your absence. We feel that kindness rules her actions to- 
wards the patients." 

" Your words are always so sweet and honied !" 

"No more so than my feelings. They are correct report- 
ers of my heart." 

"Would that some of these sweet and honied words could 
be bestowed upon the husband you promised to love and hon- 
or !" 

" He has had them in more abundance than any other man, 
but he shall never have another, until he repents." 

0, how determined these men" are to break down the con- 
science of woman, and thus annihilate her i^dentity. Only 
let her be their echo or parasite and she is all right ? 

I am treating the Doctor as I have always tried to my hus- 
band, with the most patient forbearance, hoping thus to over- 
come the evil in him with kindness. Instead therefore, of 
reproaching the Doctor for turning with such heartless in- 
difference from my appeals to him for protection, I just com- 
mit the business of punishing for these offences to an aveng- 
ing God, and betake myself anew to the exercise of kindness 
and patient forbearance, still hoping that it may in this case 
prove a success, instead of a failure, as it did in Mr. Packard's 
case. 

There should be no state rights in opposition to the cen- 
tral government. So there should be no individual sovereign- 
ty in opposition to God's government. Therefore no husband 
should require the subjection of his wife's conscience to his 
will, when it opposes what she regards as God's will. God 



LOED OF CREATION. 163 

grant, that the time may never wear away in me this spirit of 
resistance to such oppression. 



XXXIII. 
Is Man the Lord of Creation ? 

Dr. McFarland accused me yesterday of defending a princi- 
ple which he claims would be subversive of all family govern- 
ment. He maintains that the government of the family is 
vested entirely in the husband, that the wife has no right to 
her identity ; she must live, move and have her being in him 
alone. I admit that the recognition of her identity will en- 
danger the overthrow of a family despotism, because the mar- 
ital power will then be so limited as to compel a respectful re- 
gard to the inalienable rights of the wife ; but on his princi- 
ple, as the Doctor wants it, the husband must have the power 
to ignore all her rights, or he can not be " lord over all" in 
his family I 

I claim that every family established on such a basis ought 
. to be overthrown, as well as all other despotisms ; and it is 
this principle which is at the present day sending devastation 
throughout the whole social fabric of society. Despotism can 
not live on freedom's soil. Divorce and disunion are dem- 
onstrating this fact, and they will continue to demonstrate and 
remonstrate too, against family despotisms, until this govern- 
ment will extend the right of "life, liberty and the pursuit 
of happiness" to the wives of her government as well as the 
husbands. Married woman has as good a right to her moral 
accountability as a married man ; and God is her sovereign as 
well as he is man's sovereign. Man has no more right to in- 
terfere with her allegiance to Christ's government, than she 
has to interfere with his. Both must be judged independently 
before this highest tribunal, therefore each should be morally 
free to live up to their highest convictions of right. 






164 THE PKISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

On the Doctor's visit to-day he asked, " Mrs. Packard, 
what is meant by 'Wives, obey your husbands ?' " 

"It means to obey them in what is right, and not in what 
is wrong." 

" What is meant by the husband being the head of the 
wife?" 

" It means that he is the head, or the senior partner of the 
firm, and the wife the junior partner, or companion. He has 
this headship assigned to him instead of the wife, because he 
is the best fitted in nature to defend and protect the wife and 
children. He is the head, to protect, but not to subject the 
rights of the other members of the household. This headship 
gives him no more right to become the despot, than the junior 
position of the wife allows her to become his slave. Being 
associated as partners, does not confer on either, the right of 
usurpation." 

"But what shall be done, when, on a point of common in- 
terest, they can not agree?" 

" The junior must yield her views to the senior's." 

" But supposing the wife feels that the husband's plans 
will bring disaster upon the family interests?" 

"It is her duty to yield notwithstanding, after she has 
urged all her strong reasons against it, for unless she does, 
she trespasses on his right as 'head 1 of the firm. The risk 
must be assumed by some one, and as the head is compelled to 
bear this responsibility, he ought to be allowed to act in ac- 
cordance with his own judgment, after the opinions of his 
junior partner have been candidly weighed. Then, if disaster 
follows, she has no right to complain, for this is one of the 
indispensable and inseparable liabilities of a co-partnership 
relation. Understanding this principle when she entered the 
firm, she would be domineering over an inalienable right of 
her partner to do otherwise. Unless this principle of justice 
can be peaceably conceded, there is no alternative except a 
peaceable dissolution, or a civil war." 



PETITION PRESENTED. 165 

XXXIV. 
Petition to the Trustees, Presented September, 1861. 

To THE TRUSTEES OF ILLINOIS INSANE ASYLUM. 

Messrs: I, Mrs. E. P. ~W. Packard, wife of Rev. Theoph- 
ilus Packard of Manteno, Kankakee County, Illinois, do most 
respectfully pray your honorable body to discharge me from 
this Asylum, and place me on a self-reliant position forthwith, 
for the following reasons. * 

1st. Because I am illegally imprisoned on a false charge. 
This I assume, on the ground that a person is supposed to be 
innocent, until he has been proved to be guilty. The charge 
of insanity has never been established, or proved against me, 
and I claim, that a charge which exposes an individual to a 
life long imprisonment, ought to be proved, before it is assumed 
that they are guilty and treated accordingly. 

2nd. This, my imprisonment being a false one, eminently 
imperils the vital interests of this Institution, whose interests 
you are sacredly bound to protect. The mere "forms of law," 
regardless of the spirit, or intent of the law, will be found to 
be a bogus protection to the Institution. 

3rd. I am entirely capable of assuming a self-reliant posi- 
tion, being in the full possession of all my mental and physical 
faculties, and having ever been an eminently practical woman, 
I already know how to use these faculties for my own pecu- 
niary support, without aid from others. 

4th. My long and dreary imprisonment among maniacs, is 
peculiarly trying to my sensibilities and my intelligence, and 
for you, Gentlemen, to protract it without investigation, seems 
unmanly, and unjust. 

5th. It was only for the lawful exercise of my rights of 
opinion and conscience, that the charge of insanity was 
alleged against me by my husband, and I, therefore, am not 
willing to be returned to him until the question is settled at 
the bar of my countrv, whether a wife and mother in America 
can be protected under our Constitution, in the independent 
exercise of her rights of religious opinion. 



166 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

6th. I think it would hasten this crisis, by allowing me my 
personal liberty, and thereby, a mother's guardianship over 
her infant children be sooner restored to them. It is a great 

D 

wrong, thus to deprive six children, and one an infant, of a 
mother's tender care. 

Gentlemen, as guardians of this Institution, allow me to 
inform you that this house has in some instances, been per- 
verted from its original object, and is now being used as a 
penitentiary a house of correction a poor-house for the 
indigent and idle a hospital for the sick and for an inqui- 
sition. For my persecutors, it is being employed as an 
inquisition, where they hope to torture me into an acknowl- 
edgement of the Presbyterian church creed, and it is indeed 
true that all that human ingenuity can devise, has been most 
skillfully employed to make a maniac of me, since they find 
I will not recant. But, by God's help, I have hitherto sus- 
tained unharmed, these horrors and tortures, and reason still 
maintains its throne, and demands justice at your hands, or 
at the bar of my country. 

Trustees of this Institution, on you now rests the responsi- 
bility of purging this house of these evils, and thus ward off 
the just indignation of an enlightened people, and the curse 
of an insulted God, which now overhangs it, threatening its 
destruction. 

May divine wisdom guide you in the disposal of this peti- 
tion of a persecuted woman. E. P. ~W. PACKARD. 

P. S. A PROTEST. Dr. McFarland informs me that I am 
soon to be liberated and returned to my husband ! Christian 
Gentlemen, I do hereby enter my most solemn protest against 
being returned to my husband. This shall never be done with 
my consent, and if done at all, it must be done as a mere act 
of brute force on your part. I shall never surrender my con- 
science to this traitor of Christ's government. His law says, 
"Judge ye not of your own selves what is right?" I shall 
obey this law of my Sovereign, and shall judge for myself 
what is right for me to do. I shall always yield to intelli- 
gence, and to argument based on truth, but to despotism 



PETITION PRESENTED. 167 

never. I shall hold no fellowship with my husband, so long as 
he regards me as an unaccountable moral agent, " so help me 
God!" A follower of Jesus. E. P. W. P. 

The above protest was added to my petition, and presented 
in person, to the Trustees, as they passed through my hall. 
As I handed it to Mr. Brown, the chairman, I said in presence 
of Dr. McFarland, "Will you gentlemen please have the 
kindness to consider this petition before deciding upon my 
case?" Mr. Brown took the document and gave it into the 
hands of the Secretary, saying "you take charge of it." 

But, for the Trustees' sake, I am sorry to add that they 
took no notice of it, and so far as their action was concerned, 
my case was indefinitely postponed ! I was left to continue 
on unnoticed, and uncared for just the same as before. They 
seemed to be just as indifferent to my interests as Dr. McFar- 
land had been, and took no more notice of my petition to 
them, than the Doctor had of a similar one I had before sent 
him. What more could I do? If men to whom the public 
commit such important trusts will not discharge their duty, 
ought they not to be discharged themselves? Certainly. If 
the Superintendent is remiss in his duties, the Trustees ought 
to discharge him, and if the Trustees uphold an unworthy 
man, when they know he ought to be discharged, then they 
themselves, ought to be discharged, and so far as my case is 
concerned, I say, that from this time, if Dr. McFarland was 
guilty for keeping me there, then the Trustees are alike 
guilty. 

The experience of my inner life, during this trial I find de- 
lineated in my journal of September 6th. If I am forced back 
to my husband, the act will be no more my act, than the fugi- 
tive's return is his own act. If God so permits, I know I shall 
be sustained in doing the best I can under the circumstances. 
I see not the way nor the plan of God in thus leading me in 
this self-denying course of obedience conflicting so much with 
my natural inclinations. But still lam satisfied. Let me but 
know my duty ; 'tis all I ask. It is only thine own work and 
plan I am so blindly executing. Thine shall be the triumph 



168 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

or the defeat, not mine. Shall the instrument insist upon 
knowing the designer's plan, before consenting to be employed 
in executing the work ? No, it is enough for me to know and 
keep my proper place, as an employee under the Master work- 
man's control. 

I believe I have a body-guard of invincible power to defend 
me in the discharge of every duty, and until my work is en- 
tirely done I am immortal. Although I am called to pursue 
a comet-like orbit, yet I have my path to revolve in, and no 
other planet can affect it, beyond its appointed limits. Velo- 
city, momentum, onward force, is sometimes my only safety 
I seem now to have reached that part of my orbit where ac- 
celerated motion is required to preserve its equilibrium. Great 
Sun of the Universe ! keep me within thy influence and con- 
trol, and never let me get beyond thy centripetal influence. 

If I am sent back to Manteno as a fugitive, I intend to live 
entirely independent of human dictation, that does not coin- 
cide with my views of right and duty, lean not fellowship 
any church who regard me as an insane person, for such an 
influence will claim a right to control my conscience. If no 
church can allow me to be an independent, moral agent, I 
will belong to no church. Neither will I associate with the 
insane party. My associates shall be only those who respect 
my sanity. 

If I am forced into the home of my husband, it will be no sin 
for me to be there, for the act will not be mine, therefore, I 
shall have grace to live a Christian life with my children, since 
God's providence so appoints my destiny, for God requires no 
impossibilities. . 

The reason I can not voluntarily put myself unprotected 
again into the power of my husband, is because I see him 
without his mask. The people do not. I will not stain my 
soul with a falsehood to curry the favor of all the people. 
Wherever I am I will dare to do right, and then I know 
God will take care of me. 

In a letter to my son Theophilus, I say, " The Trustees 
met yesterday, and have indefinitely postponed my liberation. 



TAX PAYERS. 169 

Ye-', you my first born, and my other children, must still 
continue to suffer the cruel wrong of being deprived of a 
mother's gentle care. I did hope, that if the Trustees 
would not grant my petition, they would send me home forci- 
bly, for then I should not do wrong by going. And then their 
responsibility of my imprisonment would have ceased. But 
no ; they did nothing, and we must linger on, enduring this 
unnatural separation still longer. I am cast down, but not 
in despair. 

u G-od will make the riddle plain, 
So all our murmuring thoughts restrain." 



XXXT. 
The Eights of the Tax Payers. 

LETTER TO THE TRUSTEES. 

INSANE ASYLUM, May 10, 1862. 

To THE TRUSTEES. Gentlemen: Dr. McFarland has in- 
formed me that the State, not my husband, supports me here. 
I deem it my duty to protest against this act of injustice. 
Although I fully appreciate your intended kindness to me 
and mine, by placing me on the charity list; yet it is the 
injustice of the act that my nature instinctively revolts at. 
My children have no claim upon the charities of this State 
for their education. God has provided them with ways and 
means of being educated far superior to many children of the 
poor tax payers. If these indigent tax payers choose, vol- 
untarily to deprive their own children of the means of 
education, for the benefit of my more favored ones, there 
would be no injustice in my receiving their gifts in this way. 
But to claim it of them, without their consent or knowledge, 
simply as a legal right, is unjust : for it plainly conflicts with 
the dictates of the moral law, which is, doing to others as I 
should wish them to do to me. I am not required to love my 
neighbor's interests better than my own. My own children 
H 



170 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

have a prior claim to my regard than my neighbor's Still, I 
have no right to seek their interests at my neighbor's ex- 
pense, without his knowledge or consent. 

Since my husband has broken his marriage covenant, and 
failed to protect me in my duties as a wife and mother, de- 
priving me not only of my marriage rights, but also of all my 
rights as an American citizen, thereby depriving his children 
of their natural guardian and instructor, I feel that he has no 
right to seek to make pecuniary profits from the specious plea 
thus formed of educating his children. 

You know not what you are doing, in supporting this man 
in his wicked plan of wronging the innocent without cause. 
God grant that your eyes may be opened to see your guilt in 
thus doing, so that you may repent in this life, where you 
can be forgiven, on the ground of making due restitution to 
me, for the multiplied wrongs you have inflicted upon me 
and mine. Respectfully yours, 

MKS. E. P. W. PACKAKD. 



XXXVI. 

The Imputation of Insanity a Barrier to Human Pro- 
gress. 

At. one time I was made to feel exceedingly sad and sor- 
rowful by a conversation I had with a lady who called upon 
me. I conversed freely and frankly with her, as usual, avow- 
ing my views and sentiments, and giving my reasons for the 
course 1 was pursuing. In her undeveloped condition she 
failed to comprehend them fully, and therefore, since the 
brand of insanity was upon me, she concluded these points 
which she could not readily comprehend, were products of my 
insanity ! This, from her standpoint, being an inevitable con- 
clusion, her mind would necessarily be barred against any 
convictions of truth which I might present to her reason or 
intelligence. These goggles of insanity through which she 



IMPUTATION OF INSANITY. 171 

now looks, disturbs all her mental vision, so that she can no 
more apprehend a new truth through me, as its medium, than 
the scales of bigotry will admit any light through those who 
war with its dogmas. 

Now supposing this position should be generally adopted, 
viz : that what we can not readily apprehend, is insanity ; what 
encouragement hare we to make progress, or become the bene- 
factors of our age, knowing that just as soon as we advance 
to any point of intelligence beyond another, we must be re- 
garded and treated as insane, and thus expose ourselves to a 
life-long imprisonment unless we recant ? Is not the impu- 
tation of insanity the devil's barrier to human progress ? 
I feel that we ought to be very careful not to condemn what 
we do not understand, for in Christ's case, his persecutors 
were condemned as guilt of " blasphemy," for doing this 
very thing. The blinded Jews, who were wedded to their 
creed with as firm a tenacity as the Orthodox church of the 
present day is to their own, could not therefore apprehend the 
principles of the new dispensation, which Christ came to in- 
troduce, because it conflicted with their church creed; there- 
fore they accused this innovator with madness or insanity for 
promulgating such new, and strange doctrines. Like the same 
class at the present age, they did not wait to see evidence of 
his insanity in his evil actions, before they condemned him ; 
but merely for his expressions or utterances of opinions, he 
was condemned as a mad man. Now I think his accusers 
acted more like mad men than he did, when we come to take 
actions as evidence of insanity, instead of the expression of 
opinions. And even if we take their own basis of evidence, 
I think the Jewish dogmas which their church defended were 
as great an evidence of insanity in them, as the opinions which 
Christ taught in opposition to their standard of morals, were 
evidence of insanity in him. But I do not think that the ut- 
terance of opinions in either case, is any evidence of in- 
sanity. The Jews believed they had received their dispensa- 
tion from God, and of course, they were tenacious in its de- 
fence, and could not readily see that the time had come for 



172 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the old to give place to the new. So it is in all ages, some 
are slower than others to see that the time for the inaugura- 
tion of any new truth has fully come, and therefore they op- 
pose it with the same intolerant spirit which the Jewish min- 
'sters did. 

But so far as the question of insanity goes, those show the 
greatest proof of being insane, who oppose this inauguration 
with vile slander, and ruinous scandal, and false imprisonment, 
and death, rather than those who calmly stand by the truth, 
and defend it with sound and invincible logic. It was this 
very inoffensiveness in Christ which so exasperated them 
against him, plainly showing that it was they who had the 
devil of bigotry in them, not him. It was they, the Jewish 
ministers, who were the blasphemers, instead of him whom 
they accused of blasphemy. The views and theories taught 
by Christ, were all humanitarian in their character ; yet this 
did not shield him from the assaults of slander and the charge 
of insanity ; neither will this armor prove a defence at the 
present age, even under the American flag of free religious 
toleration, so long as reformers are allowed to be publicly 
branded by these Insane Asylums. Whoever has the diploma 
of this institution forced upon him, must submit henceforth 
to fight his way through fire and blood to carry out his benev- 
olent purposes to humanity ; for at every inch of progress, 
he is compelled to face the barbed arrow of insanity, hurled 
at him by the intolerant and bigoted of his age. If by any 
possible means, the imputation of insanity can be removed 
from the track of the reformer, the wheel of human progress 
will be greatly accelerated. 

Again my persecutors are guilty of the same act of un- 
charitableness in calling the natural developments of woman- 
hood evil, or insanity, in me. This undeveloped sister insists 
that it is impossible for me to be what I profess to be, a true 
woman, and not have overcome the evil in my husband; since 
goodness is omnipotent. I acknowledge the potency of 
goodness, while I, at the same time add, that I do not believe 
that she or any other woman could have borne more patiently 



IMPUTATION OF INSANITY. 173 

with a husband's faults, or have labored more kindly and hide- 
fatigably to overcome them than I have done. I regard such 
a man as a most subtle foe to conquer, and I do fully believe, 
that ultimately, through my instrumentality, if any, Christ 
will conquer him ; but the time has not yet come. It is said 
of Christ, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his 
feet," as I believe, for the purpose of raising them to a state 
of happiness and purity. Christ conquers, not to punish, but 
to bless his foes. I believe my twenty-one years of subjec 
tion to my husband's will, is not designed as a punishment 
to me, but as a blessed means of bringing me to lose all my 
natural loves in the love of God's will. Thus am I called to 
die to live again to die naturally, to live spiritually. I hope 
this new life has begun in me. May it be developed into 
maturity ! 

Another point she could not understand in me is, that I call 
it a reproach to be called insane, when she says it is not a 
reproach to be insane. I do not regard an insane person as 
an object of reproach or contempt, by any means. They are 
objects of pity and compassion; for I regard insanity as the 
greatest misfortune which can befall a human being in this 
life. But to be regarded as an insane person, when I am not, 
is to me a reproach, which I find is a severe cross for me to 
bear; such as for example, to be reported to be a bankrupt, 
when I am not, is a reproach, because it is a cruel slander. 
But how much more malevolent and cruel is the slander, to 
be reported as lost to reason when we are not. I think the 
sensitive feelings of Christ led him to feel it to be a reproach 
to have his age say of him, " He hath a devil and is mad, 
why hear ye him? " As much as to say, " Why will you 
listen to what this ' babbler ' says ? he is not worth noticing, 
for he is merely an insane person, who don't know what he is 
about." Now, since he expressly says it is "blasphemy, in 
that they said he hath a devil ;" and since blasphemy is tho 
blackest sin which can be committed against Christ, have we 
not reason to fear it is of the same type of magnitude when 
committed against his followers? 



174 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

But so far as I am concerned, I can forgive this injury 
which this sister has thus inflicted upon my sensitive feelings, 
although Christ says, blasphemy is a sin which can not be for- 
given, "either in this life, or the life to come." I do pray that 
she may never know from her own sad experience, how deeply 
she has wounded my feelings ; and never, until she is called 
to bear this same reproach, can she know how ponderous is 
the burden. 

But while I am in this Institution, this thought does buoy 
up my burdened soul, viz ; that all who know me personally, 
here, have entire confidence in my sanity, not even excepting 

Dr. McFarland ! and I do believe that Miss M * the Su- 

pervisoress expressed this heart feeling of them all, when she 
said to me, "Mrs. Packard, I believe you to be in the full 
exercise of all your mental faculties, with a sound mind, and 
no single act of yours have I ever known to contradict or in- 
validate this testimony?" Dear; kind Sister! how my heart 
thanks you for this defence of my spirit nature ; your sympa- 
thy in this expression, is like balm to my wounded spirit. 

Mrs. Hosmer, the sewing room directress, also has my 
sincere thanks for her testimony, given to Rev. A. D. 
Eddy, D. D., in reply to his question, " How is Mrs. Packard 
at times?" 

"You have seen Mrs. Packard once: you have seen her 
always." 

X 

XXXVII. 
Mr. James Lyon's Advice. 

Mr. James Lyon, and his sister, Miss Jane Lyon, of George- 
town, Illinois, brought their sister here, and were allowed to 
remain in our ward for some time without the watch of an 
employee upon their lips. This was rarely allowed, especially 
where I was, lest some means of appeal be afforded me. I, 
of course, made the most of my opportunities, and conversed 
freely with them. They manifested sympathy for me, and a 

*At her own special request, her name is omitted. 



RECORD OF A DAT. 175 

confidence in my word and statements, which was to me, at 
that time, a source of so much pleasure, that I feel impelled 
to record it as a kind of "oasis" in my prison life. Sad as 
they saw my surroundings to be, they advised me never to ask 
to return to my husband, but to wait ; to stand firm and un- 
movable on this point. Mr. Lyon said he thought great good 
might result from my being sent here. He also said he should 
lay my case before the Judge of his county, and see if any- 
thing could be done for me. 

Here I will state, that Mr. Lyon was then the first man 
who ever agreed with me, in my determination never to return 
to my husband. On this point 1 had stood alone except that 
Mary McFarland had one day uttered her assent in 'these em- 
phatic words ; "I would not go to him if I were in your place, 
for if I had a husband who put me into an Insane Asylum 
when I was not insane, I never would speak to him after- 
wards!" With these two exceptions, I stood alone, and 
battled friends and foes alike, in defence of the honor my 
nature demanded, to have no sort of fellowship with these 
deeds of darkness. And to this day I am satisfied with the 
stand I then took. It would seem to be as insane an act for 
me to consent to our reunion on his basis, as it would be for 
the North t(U onsent to a union with the South on the basis 
of slavery. 



XXXVIII. 
Record of a Day. 

The record of one day is a record of all, since I came to this 
ward. I rise with the breakfast bell, which rings about fifteen 
minutes before we are called to the table. I first drop upon 
my knees and offer a short prayer for protection and guidance, 
and then drink a tumbler of rain water, to keep my bowels free, 
which, in connection with my other health regimen, does 
prove effectual in producing this effect, which habit is so in- 



176 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

dispeusably necessary to perfect health and mental vigor. I 
wet my head in soft water, and wash my hands and face and 
dress myself as quickly as possible. 

I then throw off my bed clothes, article by article, giving 
each a shaking to air it, and stir up the husk of my mattress, 
and then leave them all airing while I eat my breakfast. I 
sleep with my window wide open, both summer and winter. 
After breakfast I finish making my bed, sweep and dust my 
room, and then invite the ladies of our hall to my room, to 
prayers, leaving each entirely free to come or not just as they 
choose. There i? but one chapel service daily, and that is at 
at night. Sometimes one, sometimes three, and oftentimes 
no one responds to my invitation by coming to prayers. After 
reading and praying I commence my studies, by first writing 
in my diary and journal. I pursue a systematic course of 
studying the bible and writing out my conclusions, and then 
read some scientific book requiring thought and close atten- 
tion, until eleven o'clock. 

I then take a full bath of cold water, and then follow it with 
vigorous friction, accompanied with gymnastic exercises, adapt- 
ed to the expansion of the chest and muscles of the system. I 
pursue this vigorous exercise before my open window until I 
find it a sweet relief to sit down and comb my hair thorough- 
ly. I then complete my toilet for the day, all of which occu- 
pies nearly one hour's time. I am then in a condition to rel- 
ish my dinner, after which, I read some light literature, or the 
daily paper, over which I often drop to sleep in my chair, 
and thus take a short nap. I then take my embroidery and 
do a certain amount, while I at the same time commit to mem- 
ory certain passages which I have marked in my reading as 
worthy of particular note ; or, while doing my embroidery, I 
meet my attendants Miss Tomlin and Miss McKelva in the 
large dormitory, and there listen to readings from Shake- 
speare's plays which we mutually agree to do for our individu- 
al improvement. This occupies my mind completely until 
the horn blows for supper, when the farm hands are all sum- 
moned in from their work in the fields about five o'clock. I 



RECORD OF A DAY. 177 

take no suppers at all, finding that two meals are all my pres- 
ent, habits render necessary for the unimpeded and healthfu] 
operations of nature. I noticed that while I took my suppers 
my sleep was not so quiet and refreshing as it ought to be that 
I awoke with a bad taste in my mouth, and had but little ap- 
petite for my breakfast. I felt rather averse to effort. I be- 
came aware that 1 was over feeding myself instead of refresh- 
ing nature with food. I therefore dispensed with my suppers 
entirely, and afl these symptoms and indifferent feelngs sub- 
sided, and I felt well, that is, I had no special reason for 
considering that I had a body to care for, so quiet and unim- 
peded were its functions carried on. The body thus cared for 
instead of being an incumbrance to the mind, became only its 
faithful servant. My sleep is now really a luxury, even 
amid this den of howling maniacs, and my breakfast and din- 
ners are peculiarly well relished, and I have not a pain or un- 
easy sensation in my physical system to call the mind's atten- 
tion to, whatever. 

How thankful am I for my practical knowledge of the laws 
of my physical nature; for I do believe that godliness, or 
living according to God's laws, is profitable in every respect; 
and ungodliness, or trespassing on nature's laws, can not be 
done with impunity. 

After supper I lay aside my work, and devote myself to 
amusing the prisoners, by dancing and playing with them until 
after chapel service, when they are locked up for the night. 
T go through my gymnastics again at night in my room, and 
drink my tumbler of soft water, and pray, and go joyfully tc 
bed to. sleep, and pleasant dreams. I often feel when rising, 
as much relieved and rested from my troubles, as if I had 
really been absent from my prison, on a pleasant visit to loved 
friends. It sometimes takes me some minutes to realize where 
I am, on awaking from such pleasant dreams. 

I often think this hell is not so unmitigated in its torments 
as the hell of lost spirits is represented to be, by their resting 
not, day nor night. Could not these prison torments be sus- 
pended by sleep, they must soon become too intolerable for 
H2 



178 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

physical nature to sustain. God grant me deliverance from 
endless, unmitigated torment ! 

The discipline of this hell has had one influence over my 
moral feelings which is certainly conducive to inward peace 
of mind, and that is, I am becoming comparatively indifferent 
to the " speech of people," which is really one of the greatest 
bugbears in the universe. I now think it is much better to 
do as we please, or as we think it right for us to do, promptly, 
and independently, than to square our conclusions by other 
people's estimates. Blessed be independence and moral 
courage ! for by these traits alone can we secure the honor of 
God, and the approbation of a good conscience. Let me get 
above " folks," where I can breathe a pure atmosphere and 
live. The 'idea of suffocating and choking to death down in 
the vitiating atmosphere of a meddlesome and gossiping world, 
is very disagreeable. The record of every day's experience 
here of this doleful prison life, carries me farther and farther 
above this grovelling atmosphere, so that my mind finds peace 
amid tumult and noisy strife. 

For the benefit of others who may be called to endure sim- 
ilar trials, I will add, that I find it an invaluable habit to be 
able to secure good sleep, and plenty of it, to fortify one 
invincibly against the attacks of " low spirits." To be a 
"good sleeper" is as indispensable to a happy, vigorous state 
of the intellect, as being a "good eater" is to a good physical 
condition. And my signal triumph over low, or depressed 
spirits, which never for one entire day disturbed my inward 
peace of mind, during all my imprisonment, is greatly owing 
to my constant practice of sleeping soundly from ten to eleven 
hours out of the twenty-four. The need of this habit was 
presented first to my mind by my scientific reading in the 
Asylum, where it was shown that whenever the brain had 
unusual burdens to carry, either in the form of trials or of 
deep study, a greater amount of sleep was indispensable to 
sustaining it unharmed. 



HOW I BOUGHT PAPER 179 

XXXIX. 
How I Bought and Retained some Paper. 

Before narrating the incidents concerning the paper, I will 
here state a few facts incidentally bearing upon the subject. 
As I have before stated, orders were expressly given when I 
was removed to the Eighth ward, that I be not allowed to go 
out of it at all except to chapel service. These orders were 
strictly enforced for about five months, when orders were re- 
ceived that I might be allowed to ride and walk out with the 
patients. I have reason to think that I am indebted to Miss 

M , for this privilege, as she was the first who bore to me 

the message in these words, " Mrs. Packard, the Doctor has 
given me permission to take you to ride to-day in company 
with his daughter Hattie." 

Availing myself of this privilege I took with me the only 
capital I owned in the whole world, viz : asilverdime, which 
Dr. McFarland had given me, and which by an unaccountable 
combination of circumstances, he supposed was justly my due, 
determining if possible to invest this capital in paper, now 

the great want of my existence. At my request Miss M 

left me at Dr. Shirley's office, to get some unfinished work 
done on my teeth, while she and Hattie rode off. While they 
were gone I took occasion to step out to make my investment. 
But recollecting that five months before, in settling up my 
account at the " Philadelphia Store," I found myself indebted 
five cents above what I was able to pay, I accordingly asked 
Mr. Woodman to trust me for that, assuring him I should pay 
him the first money I got. He however gallantly replied, "it 
is of no consequence, you are welcome to it." 

But as I felt bound in honor to fulfill my promise, I went 
directly to this store, and after stating the circumstances, 
offered my dime to meet my obligation, secretly praying how- 
ever, that he would still insist upon it that it was of " no con- 
sequence" to him, for it was of great value to me half my for- 
tune ! But in this, I am sorry to say, I was disappointed, for 



\ x^ 

180 THE f>r So - %>f ? HIDDEN LIFE. 



it was his clerk now that I was doing 'siness with in- 

stead of the kin-: 1 Mr. Woodman, the owner. DO after search- 
ing his money ?^. \et over in vain to find the five cents my 
due, he left me alone in the store long enough to steal half 
his goods had I been so disposed, (but I did not steal anything, 
by the way !) and went to the bank to get my dime changed, 
and thus I got my five cents. But having no paper, as I had 
before offered to take it in paper, I hastened to the nearest 
bookstore, where I bought five cents worth of damaged fools- 
cap, which amounted to eight sheets ! Overjoyed at the suc- 
cess of my investment, being three extra sheets above the cur- 
rent price, I, with the lightest heart and the quickest step 
possible, returned to Dr. Shirley's office, lest Mary get there 
before me. But alas ! the tardy bank was so long in chang- 
ing my dime, that she drove up to the door just as I returned 
to be thus caught ! But by carefully concealing my long 
roll of foolscap under my shawl as best I could, I thought I 
had satisfied her inquiry as to where I had been, by telling 
her I had been to the Philadelphia Store to pay a debt. 

But alas ! the long roll of foolscap would so protrude itself 
against my shawl as to lead her to suspect I had not told the 
whole truth in reporting myself. However she did not ex- 
press these thoughts to me until that evening when just be- 
fore chapel, she came to me with this question, " Mrs. Pack- 
ard, did you get any paper when- I took you to ride to- 
day ?" 

"Why do you ask me that question, Mary?" 

" Because I thought I saw something under your shawl 
which you seemed to try to conceal from me." 

" What if I did ? havn't I a right to carry things without 
your knowledge ?" 

" You have no right to carry paper without my knowledge, 
for the Doctor has expressly forbidden me to let you have a 
scrap of writing paper, and if you have used the privilege I 
granted you by taking you to ride, by getting yourself paper, 
I must report you to the Doctor. Did you get paper, or 
did you not?" 



HOW I BOUGHT PAPER. 181 

"I did, Mary, get five cents' worth?" 

' I must report you to the Doctor it is my duty." 

am sorry, Mary, your conscience dictates such a course, 
still if it does, obey your conscience, for I know you will fa- 
vor me whenever you can conscientiously do so." 

As she left the hall I, as quickly as possible, took the three 
extra sheets from my roll and hid them about my person, 
leaving the roll in the top of an old box which I was using as 
a trunk to keep my things in, with one dress simply covering 
the roll. After chapel, and when the ladies were nearly all 
locked up for the night in their rooms, the Doctor's steps were 
heard in our hall, and as he entered at one end, I left my room 
at the opposite end, and as we approached each other we met 
at about the middle of the hall, when standing directly in 
front of me, he remarked, with his eye fixed most intently up- 
on me, "Mrs. Packard, did you get some paper when you 
you went to ride with Miss M , to-day ?" 

" Yes sir ! said I looking him also full in the eye." 

" Will you give me the paper if I ask you for it ?" 

" No sir !" with emphasis, said I. 

"Will you give it to me if I demand it of you?" 

"No sir!" with greater emphasis. 

For a moment we stood looking at each other in silent 
amazement, then he said, " Where is the paper?" 

" Amongst my things." 

We then passed each other, he going to my room to attend 
to his business, and I to the opposite end of the hall to attend 
to mine. 

-When I returned, I found the Doctor searching the table 
drawer where I kept my choice things, the key to which I 
carried in my own pocket ; but it seemed the Doctor had 
opened it with some other key. I wonder if there are any 
locks which Dr. McFarland's keys can not lawfully open! 

After watching his movements, while he stood bent over 
my drawer, carefully opening every box, large and small, and 
pocketing such articles as he chose, such as bits of pencils, 
and old pens, and any articles of stationery he could find, 



182 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I left the room, while he was, ransacking the paraphernalia 
of woman's toilet, remarking to my dormitory companions as 
I left, " Ladies, bear witness to this robbery 1" 

Failing, to find the paper he was in search of, he closed and 
locked the drawer, then asked the ladies if they knew of any 
other place where Mrs. Packard kept her things. Miss 
Goldsby replied, " She keeps some in this box, I believe," 
pointing to a cushioned covered seat near by. This box, the 
size of a common trunk, was full of my larger articles of 
wearing apparel, which he carefully searched throughout ; but 
failing to find the roll of foolscap, because in such plain sight, 
near the top ! he left, chagrined and mortified at his failure, 
and locking the door of my room as he passed out, he left me 
alone in the hall, while he, with a quick, anxious tread, passed 
speechlessly by me, out of the hall, closing the dead lock upon 
me. 

As I alone paced the hall, silently ruminating upon my 
probable fate, I saw the hall door open, and the Doctor en- 
tered, followed by his porter. "Now," thought I, "I am to 
be transported off to some dungeon or secret cell, to suffer 
the penalty for telling the truth to him and my attendant," 
and stepping up deliberately, in front of the porter, I daunt- 
lessly stood, with folded arms, ready to be unresistingly borne 
to my place of torture. The friendly porter, who had more 
than twenty times put the reins of the carriage horse into my 
hands, and received my " thank you," as often, just gave me 
a smile, and a respectful bow of recognition, and passing me, 
followed the Doctor into my room. He soon appeared again 
with what the Doctor supposed was my trunk, in his hands, 
and followed the Doctor with it up to the trunk room, where 
it was left beyond the reach of Mrs. Packard's accommoda- 
tion. Thus the Doctor had the satisfaction of feeling that if 
Mrs. Packard has baffled him in finding the paper, he has been 
able to. annoy her by taking her trunk! And. as the event 
proved, the Doctor, upon a second overhauling of my things 
in the trunk room, found the roll of foolscap ; and being fivo 
sheets, he felt that this amount answered to the five cent's 



THE ARISTOCRACY. 183 

worth Miss M told him I had bought, so that, after un- 
locking my large trunk in the trunk room, and robbing it of 
all my letters, and papers, and manuscripts of every kind, he 
felt satisfied, feeling that at last his plan to defeat his prison- 
ers of their rights had succeeded, even in my case. 

But don't let the great Doctor feel- too confident that he has 
gained the laurels of victory, after all, for he did not know 
that his wife furnished me with a better trunk, and more of 
my wardrobe than ever before, with a key to it also ; and 
besides, the Doctor did not know that I still kept and faith- 
fully used, the three large sheets of foolscap, from which I 
am now copying for the public advertising of himself, through 
this record of his own actions ! No, neither did he know that 
this ungallant assault upon a defenceless woman's rights, 
aroused the just indignation of the house in sympathy with 
his victim ; so 1 that it came to be regarded as a part of the 
code of honor in that house afterwards, to evade the mandate 
to "keep all stationery from Mrs. Packard," so that the em- 
ployees willingly followed the example which Mrs. McFarland 
set them, to furnish me with supplies, clandestinely, when- 
ever they could safely do so. In this way, he, himself, 
furnished me with sufficient material to print a volume quad- 
ruple this size when it is all printed 1 Can not God cause the 
"wrath of man to praise him?" 

XL,:; . 

The Aristocracy of JacksonviTc*, Rebuked Another 

Honorable & to v 

,. 

One day, as Dr. McFarland was passing my door, I hailed 
him, exclaiming, " Doctor, I want to tell you of my trial. 
I believe you will pity me, for you did on my experiencing a 
similar trial when I first came here: 1 ' 

" yes, I will pity you. What is it? " 

"Doctor, I have been insulted by those proud ladies your 
wife took through here the other day." 



184 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

"Why, or how, did they insult you?" 

" I will tell you. They came to my room, where I politely 
invited them to be seated, and entered upon intelligent, lady- 
like conversation with them. But I quickly noticed they 
had come as spies that they came to ridicule, instead of to 
comfort the sorrowing, and that all my effort to entertain 
them was to be at my own expense. That is, I saw by their 
manner that they regarded me as an insane person, and that 
all I said, no matter what, it was all looked upon as insane 
talk, such as they regarded as of no consequence, except as 
it afforded them subject for merriment and ridicule. Hurt 
as my feelings were by their sly winking and scornful smiles, 
which were freely exchanged whenever I spoke, I took no 
notice of it, so far as my manner was concerned, but continued 
politely and intelligently to entertain them; and when they 
abrubtly withdrew, I politely invited them to call again, to 
which only one returned a response. By their significant 
looks and smiles as they passed out, they plainly said, 'We 
have seen enough of her insanity, let us go and find some 
other insane person to ridicule!' And they did ridicule many 
others in the same manner, leading them to exclaim as they 
left, ' They make us feel that we are a menagerie of wild 
beasts, to be gazed upon as show animals ! ' ' 

"It is too bad ! They ought not to have treated you so. 
It was wrong, very wrong. I have discharged two attendants 
to-day for ridiculing a patient." 

"You have done right, DrV McFarland, and God will bless 
you for it. You have fj^-fejided the rights of the oppressed 
by so doing. This i 'Jod sent you here for, to protect 

the afflicted and care \rm.^ I then added, "I feel very 
indignant at their insulting coiiLUct, and I say it is a just indig- 
nation, such as the dictates of a right nature prompt. I do 
not, nor will I try, to restrain it by silence, for I feel called 
by God, 'to cast abroad my rage,' as he directs in Job xl : 
1115. Under this feeling of just indignation, I have written 
a reproof." 

" I hope you have addressed it to them." 



THE ARISTOCRACY. 185 

" Yes, here it is," handing him the following letter. After 
thoroughly reading it he handed it back saying, in a very firm 
decided manner, " put this letter into an envelope, direct it 
to Mrs. J. H. Bancroft, and put it into the post-office." 

I did so, and the letter was sent too, and the next morning 
a delegation of these aristocratic ladies met the Doctor in the 
reception room. But for what purpose they made so early a call 
at the Asylum I have never yet learned. I only know that they 
had an interview there with the Doctor, for several attend- 
ants came rushing into my room assuring me the same ladies 
were there to whom I had sent my letter, and they thought 
they would soon call upon me to make their apology fortheij 
unchristian and uncivil treatment. But I am sorry to say, 
they never called upon me, neither did they ever send me a,n 
apology for this gross insult. 

This fact has led me to conclude that the feeling often ex- 
pressed by the sensible employees is true, viz : that this class 
of Jacksonville people despise the patients, and, more than any 
class of Asylum visitors, manifest this feeling in the most un- 
mistakable manner towards the inmates, as occasion offers. 
These insolent visitors have long been a great source of an- 
noyance to the prisoners there, therefore I feel called upon to 
expose them to the world. Had I any reason to suppose my 
private rebuke had benefited them, I should never have con- 
sented to thus treat the persistent transgressor by publishing 
this letter, to Mrs. Bancroft, Mrs. Lathrop and Mrs. Wells. 

INSANE ASYLUM, May 1, 1862. 

SISTERS : Have we not all one Father ? Are we not equally 
dependent upon our heavenly Father for life and all its bless- 
ings ? Is it therefore filial or becoming to claim more than he 
bestows, or abuse what he gives? ^ 

You may perhaps be surprised at these questions, and won- 
der what can have prompted their utterance. I will tell you. 
Your call at my room was the occasion, and your treatment 
of me while there, was the cause. You treated me not as an 
afflicted sister, but as a brute. You did indeed visit me in 
my prison,but I was led to exclaim, "would that you had 



186 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

not, for by this act you have inflic ted a wound upon one of Christ's 
little ones, such as he will certainly be called upon to avenge. 
Yes sisters, you have harmed yourselves, and you have hurt 
me. The hurt on me will be healed, and by my patient en- 
durance will only add to the luster of my crown of righteous- 
ness. 

Sisters, what could be more cruel than to make light of and 
ridicule the afflicted membersof God's household, as you did 
yesterday, when you visited our wards ? Would you not have 
called the act an outrage on your feelings to find that your 
sick and agonized child was made an object of ridicule and 
contempt, by her more favored sisters ? Would not your au- 
thority as a parent demand that these guilty ones be punish- 
ed ? Sisters, in behalf of injured humanity, I feel compelled 
to inform you that the weak, sickly and persecuted members 
of God's family are not brute beasts, but human beings, with 
human feelings, if not like yourselves, like your superiors on 
the plane of humanity and intelligence ; and if you can find 
nothing human in your own proud hearts by which to judge 
of our feelings, I will inform you that we are a class of human 
beings so much superior to yourselves, that for our benefit, we 
wish to withdraw ourselves from the influence of your inferior 
natures, lest we be contaminated thereby. As for myself I 
feel bound to withdraw the invitation I extended to you yes- 
terday to call upon me again, regarding you as I now do as 
beneath my notice. 

When I find a human being in a female form who has so far 
perverted her nature, as to leave no traces of sympathy, or 
kind feelings towards others, but is only arrogant and proud, 
I feel it my duty to avoid such, and treat them only as fallen 
beings, still hoping and praying that the lost image of human- 
ity may be restored, even if it must come at the expense of 
an Asylum retribution. Your sister in bonds. 

E. P. W. PACKARD. 



LOVE YOUE ENEMIES. 187 

XLL, 
"Love your Enemies." 

Upon reviewing the scenes of yesterday I felt such an im- 
pulse of thanksgiving for this signal victory of right, that I 
felt like returning a thank-offering to the Lord for it. And 
I could find no better way of expressing it, than to try to cul- 
tivate a forgiving spirit towards Dr. McFarland, by trying to 
stimulate him in well doing, so that I might have a chance to 
forgive him on the gospel condition of repentance. There- 
fore for his encouragement in well doing I penned the follow- 
ing note and handed it to him, saying, as I did so, " Doctor, I 
feel that you deserve a certificate of good behavior, will you 
therefore accept of this from me ?" 

"A LOVE MESSAGE.' 

Dr. McFarland, Respected Friend, I feel constrained to as- 
sure you that the noble stand you took yesterday is secur- 
ing for you laurels from all true humanity about this house. 
Its involuntary utterance seems to be in all cases like what 
Mrs. Coe expressed when I told her of the affair, " good ! for 
Dr. McFarland ! This is an honorable act I" But this is not 
the best of it, " "When a man's ways please the Lord, he mak- 
eth even his enemies to be at peace with him." "Be not weary 
in well doing, for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint 
not." Your true friend, 

E. P."W. PACKARD. 

As the Doctor opened the note and his eye caught the head- 
ing, he uttered an exclamation of surprise, and after repeating 
the heading over twice aloud, he added, ""Who would have 
thought of Dr. McFarland's receiving a "love message" from 
Mrs. Packard !" 

I replied, "it is even so 1 1 am no hypocrite I am a true wo- 
man, and the love I bestow upon men does not hurt them." 

" No, it does not," said he. 

" The truth is, Doctor, I am resolved to risk the exercise 



188 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

of a disinterested benevolence, however its legitimate devel- 
opment may seem to conflict with my selfish interests." 

Without responding any further he pocketed his note and 
left me, perhaps to plot some way by which to turn this ex- 
pression against me. I think I can fully appreciate too the 
danger which Mrs. Coe pointed out to me in treating the 
Doctor with " so much civility and kindness even after he has 
wronged you so much and egregiously." He may I know, by 
his policy, turn it very much against me, if he is so disposed 
to pervert it, or misrepresent me. Still, since God's directions 
are simple and plain on this point, " to love your enemies, do 
good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despite- 
fully use you and persecute you," and my own forgiving na- 
ture does not conflict with these directions as appplied to the 
Doctor, I intend to be fearless in using every possible means 
that love can devise to save him ; for it is to me a far more 
desirable object to save him than to destroy him ; and so far 
as he is concerned I do not think my deliverance depends up- 
on his decision or his action. God's purposes cannot be 
thwarted by my obeying his directions, although my doing so, 
may seem to conflict with the selfish policy which my reason 
may suggest. 

God commands us to " do good to our enemies," and if I 
fully obey this direction, I must not only pray for him, but I 
must act and labor for his welfare. Judging from my own 
feelings, I do not see how I can really love an enemy and let 
him go unreproved and unwarned. But perhaps if I hated 
a human being I might answer the demands of my conscience 
by simply praying for him; but since I never knew what 
that feeling was by experience to hate any one, I may not be 
qualified to judge one who has. My nature prompts me to 
hate the sin and love the sinner, and my love for the sinner is 
so genuine and so real, that I can leave no means untried to 
bring him to see his sins and repent, since I know pardon from 
his Judge can be bestowed on no other condition. The great- 
est sin of my life as I now view it, lies in the fact that I have 
been too ready to forgive the wrong doer, and in my impatience 



HOW I LOST MY PAPER. 189 

to extend my pardon I have sometimes forgiven before I ought 
to have done so that is, I have forgiven the impenitent in- 
stead of the penitent, and thus encouraged the transgressor 
in his sins. But through the discipline of my heavenly Fa- 
ther I now see my sin in this respect, so that henceforth I 
shall aim to extend to the impenitent the " love message" 
of warning and rebuke, and to the truly penitent, the " love 
message" of encouragement in well doing. To extend for- 
giveness to the impenitent, degrades ourselves also as guilty 
accomplices in their iniquities. 



XLII. 
How Mr. Packard gaye me Paper, and how I lost it. 

Mr. Packard visited the Institution twice during the three 
years his wife was imprisoned in it. But these visits were 
not designed to comfort and cheer her with the hope of deliv- 
erance from her prison life at some future time, but to 
perpetuate it, through his influence over the Superintendent 
and the Trustees. He visited me in my cell, and saw my 
companions, the howling, raving maniacs ; and although he 
feared for his own life while among them, he expressed no 
fears for his wife's life. He tried to raise his voice so much 
above the roar of this tempest of human passions and seeth- 
ing hate, as to make his wife understand that she was under 
obligations of gratitude to him for replenishing her wardrobe 
for a longer campaign ! But he failed to make her appreciate 
this obligation of gratitude due a benefactor, who was only 
restoring stolen property to its rightful owner. "What obliga- 
tion am I under to the robber who meets me in the street and 
robs me of all I have, my watch, and purse, and even my 
wearing apparel, and then comes and asks me to bestow on 
him my grateful thanks for presenting me my own wardrobe, 
as his gift? 



190 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Either the tumultuous elements surrounding me, or the 
lack of capacity within me, or both, prevented my seeing 
this obligation due him as my benefactor ! My sense of jus- 
tice will not allow me to thank robbers for gifts which are 
already my own property ; therefore, this reverend divine 
was obliged to leave, feeling that he was a much injured man, 
because his benefactions were so little appreciated by his 
ungrateful beneficiary ! Although the articles from my ward- 
robe which he brought to me in the prison, were the most 
inferior part of it, being in the main, my clothes which I had 
done wearing myself, and had laid aside for donations to my 
washerwoman and others more destitute than myself; yet, 
destitute as I then was, they were in themselves very accept- 
able, for I had ample time for making new things out of old, 
and thus I was able to appear in quite a respectable costume 
for that place. 

But there was one article he brought me, for which I did 
really feel so grateful, I could hardly control this emotion by 
my principles or reason; that is, I felt so instinctively grateful 
for the large roll of writing paper, envelopes, and stationery 
he brought me, that I almost spoke my thanks, before reason 
had had time to give her verdict to the contrary. He saw 
that my joy was almost boundless, at this most unexpected 
possession. And as soon as he left, I commenced writing a 
letter to my children on it, feeling no need of secrecy now; 
and therefore, when Dr. McFarland caught me quietly using 
my stationery, he, in astonishment, inquired, "And where 
did you get your paper ?" 

"Mr. Packard gave it to me." 

"How did Mr. Packard come to give you paper?" 

"I don't know, sir. I suppose, however, he felt that it 
might be an innocent amusement for me to write here, know- 
ing I loved to write when I was at home." 

" How much did he give you?" 

"Quite a number of sheets." 

"Let me see it." 

I then took the roll from under my pillow and handed it to 



THE WOMAN QUESTION. 191 

him, saying, " Here it is." Before this, I had taken out one- 
half of it, and hid it about my person. I did not tell him of 
this ! He took the roll, examined it carefully and thought- 
fully, for some minutes, then putting the whole under .the 
breast of his coat, he remarked, "I will take charge of this." 
And he has been true to his word ; for / have been relieved 
from this charge ever since. 

But the matter did not stop here. The Superintendent 
arraigned the Minister as an intruder into his business, and 
authoritatively demanded of this husband why he had given 
paper to his wife. The husband replied, he did it for her 
comfort and amusement. The Superintendent then, after 
giving the Minister a severe reprimand, finished by the 
threat, that if he ever attempted to interfere again with his 
management or discipline of his wife, he should have the lib- 
erty of taking her away, forthwith ! This terrible threat 
silenced the Minister into unanswering submission to the 
superior mandates of the Superintendent over the control of 
his wife's destiny. 



XLIH. 

Dialogues with Dr. McFarland on the Woman Ques- 
tion. 

The Doctor has been talking with me to-day upon the 
feelings I manifested towards my husband. The Doctor 
asked," Mrs. Packard, do you think it would be considered 
as natural, for a true woman to meet one who had been a 
lover and a husband, after one year's separation, even if he 
had abused her, without one gush of affection ?" 

" Yes sir, I do say it is the dictates of the higher nature of 
a woman to do so in my case. He has by his own actions 
annihilated every particle of respect I have ever felt for his 
manhood, and thus my higher moral nature instinctively abhors 
him. To bestow upon such a man a gush of sensual affection, 



192 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

would be an insane act in me, inasmuch as it would demon- 
strate that my lower nature ruled my higher ; whereas san- 
ity requires that the higher rule the lower. I have obeyed 
the dictates of my conscience in doing so." 

"Do you feel sure your's is a right conscience?" 

"It is one I am willing to go to God's judgment bar 
with." 

" Do you believe the bible ?" 

" Indeed I do, every word of it I it is our sure word of pro- 
phecy." 

"Does not the bible require forgiveness?'' 

" It does, sir, on the ground of repentance, even seventy 
times seven. But without it, we are not allowed to forgive, 
lest it harden the offender in his sins. Mr. Packard has nev- 
er by word or deed intimated that he has done one unjust or 
wrong deed in treating me as he has done, much less that he 
is sorry for it, and now for me to treat him as my husband, 
would be saying to him, " I think you are doing all right in 
treating me as you are." Thus I should be upholding him in 
his sins, by thus disregarding God's express directions." 

Besides, Mr. Packard is not satisfied with branding me as 
insane, but is trying to defame my virtue also, and he bases 
this charge upon my benevolent regard for the happiness of 
others ! ! most cruel man 1 Does he not know that my re- 
gard for God is superior to all others? Could the sovereign of 
my higher nature conscience be made the servant instead 
of the ruler of my lower nature ? Nay, verily, my very na- 
ture renders it a moral impossibility ! Oh ! how my nature is 
blasphemed ! 

My husband has rebelled against the best government in 
the world, that of Jesus Christ ; who has established the gov- 
ernment of the individual conscience. He ignores that gov- 
ernment, by insisting that his own conscience is a safer guide 
for me than my own. And because I cannot yield to this 
usurpation he is determined to ruin me. " Rule or ruin" is his 
motto. If I could only feel as some undeveloped women do, 
that it is right to give up the responsibility of their own ac- 



THE WOMAN QUESTION. 193 

tjons to their husbands, I could then say " I will do and think 
as he pleases, since I am a nonentity after marriage !" If 
God regarded me as the law does, in this respect, 1 couid 
willingly yield my conscience to get my children. But he 
does not. He holds me as an entity, subject to his own laws 
equally with my husband. 

Therefore I cannot do wrong to get my children. While 
this sacred right of my nature is ignored by our government, 
I protest against this usurpation, and claim that my children 
are mine, by the first right of nature. Neither should my 
children be allowed to suffer this loss of a mother's care, for 
this is their God appointed heritage, and no man should dare 
to alienate their most precious boon of their existence. God 
has given them to me ; and no law or man has any right to 
force me from them. I do believe that to have my body 
roasted at the stake, I should not have suffered a tithe of the 
anguish my spirit has already suffered by this unnatural sep- 
aration. I have felt that I could echo the wailings of a mother 
here, who, with streaming eyes exclaimed, " Oh, I would will- 
ingly give this house full of gold if I had it, to be with my 
children!" 

Whether a married woman can retain her personal identity 
or not, is the great practical question involved in my case. 
This great question should be discussed, examined, and placed 
in the focal light of the present age, so that an intelligent ver- 
dict may be rendered upon it. My painful experience fur- 
nishes convincing proof that the agitation of this question has 
become a practical necessity, for no woman can now develop 
her higher nature, under the subjective influence of this mari- 
tal power, without the most fierce heart-rending struggles. 
God ! guide, direct, control, each and every influence bear- 
ing upon this momentous subject ! For peace, regardless of 
justice, is a treacherous sleep, whose waking is death. 
I 



194 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XLIV, 
My Family Relatives. 

Not far from this date I find a copy of a letter I sent to my 
own dear father in Sunderland, Mass., viz: My Dear Father, 
Dr. McFarland, the Superintendent, has given me permission 
to write you a letter. This is the first opportunity I have 
had to write you. Hitherto all communication with my friends 
has been denied me, except through my husband. 

Father, I am entombed here without cause ; but I am try- 
ing to bear my wrongs as patiently as I can. The suggestion 
has often been made, that I write you clandestinely, so that 
you might know how unjustly I am treated, and some have 
promised to write for me, but as yet I have thought it best to 
break no rule of the institution. My trust in the rectitude 
of a divine providence, is still unshaken, notwithstanding the 
clouds and darkness in which my destiny is inveloped. Yes, 
my dear Father, your Elizabeth is called to tread a very thorny 
path. Her road to heaven is through a vast howling wilder- 
ness, where no rills of earthly comfort are allowed her, to re- 
fresh her weary fainting spirits. Not only are all the com- 
forts and blessings of a Christian home denied me, but even 
my personal liberty already for nearly one whole year has 
been taken from me through marital usurpation. 

0, my Father, how my heart has bled and my soul grieved 
in agony, at being thus separated from my own flesh and 
blood my precious children. My own husband has forced 
me from my God-given charge, and imprisoned me, with no 
prospect but that it must be life-long, simply for daring to 
defend what I thought to be truth. He has made out a 
charge of insanity on this ground alone, while in all my con- 
duct he can allege nothing against me. I have neglected no 
duties, have injured no one, have always tried to do unto 
others as I would wish to be done by ; and yet, here in 
America, I am imprisoned because I could not say I believed 
what I did not believe. 

0, Father, can't you help me? Can't you take me to your 



MY FAMILY RELATIVES. 195 

own home for a short time, and try me, and see if I am insane? 
If you feel that you are too old to come yourself, do let broth- 
er Austin come and see me, at least, and then if he thinks 
this Asylum is the proper place for me, I will consent to stay. 
But with no trial, and no chance at self-defence, is it not un- 
just to leave your only daughter uncared for any longer ? 
Do, Father, do something, to get justice done to me and my 
precious children. Your affectionate daughter, 

ELIZABETH. 

Dr. McFarland received a reply to the letter to my Father. 
But not one word of sympathy or comfort for his persecuted 
daughter ! 0', can it be that my own dear father can turn a deaf 
ear to the appeal I made to him to "do something?" Yes, 'tis 
even so, for I have read the whole letter, with Dr. McFarland 
at my side. He brought it into the hall, and asked me to 
come and sit by him, when he took out the letter and handed it 
to me to read. 

I read it with a throbbing heart; and when I came to the 
sentence, saying, " he hoped the charities of the Institution 
might be extended to his insane daughter, as he regarded the 
Asylum as the most suitable place for her at present," my 
heart almost sank within me. " 0, Father," thought I, "will 
you believe the representations of Mr. Packard and the Doc- 
tor, and disbelieve your own daughter?" Yes, he does; he is 
determined to let me lie uncared for, believing I am insane, 
and therefore he is sustaining this conspiracy against me. 
And he, too, is rich, and asks the charities of this State ! 

For my father's defence, I will here add, that the Superin- 
tendent sent with my letter one of his own, which destroyed 
the influence of mine; and as the Superintendent and the 
husband both agreed in opinion respecting me. it is not so 
strange that a man nearly eighty years old, should heed their 
statements, rather than those of one whom he supposed was 
insane. He had unbounded confidence in the integrity of 
his son-in-law, Mr. Packard, and he, of course, concluded 
that a man sustained by the State must be a reliable man, 
whose opinion demanded respect and confidence. Therefore, 



196 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

instead of coming to my rescue, he sent on one hundred 
dollars to Mr. Packard, to help him in keeping my imprison- 
ment perpetuated ! Another fact. Mr Packard succeeded 
in influencing the Trustees to take me on to their charity 
list, and then carefully concealed this fact from my father, so 
that he could beg the more successfully from him, the patri- 
mony which was my due. Thus he kept my patrimony, and 
got me supported by the State of Illinois. 

I am sorry to say that my father sustained this cruel con- 
spiracy for years, persistently resisting all light, except it 
came through the medium of the conspirators. But he did 
this ignorantly, not wilfully ; for I rejoice to add, that when 
he did see me, in about eighteen months after my liberation, 
his fatherly feeling so gained the mastery of his bigotry, (he 
was a minister of the same creed as Mr. Packard,) that he 
soon saw his mistake, and then he tried to counteract the 
influence he had encouraged in believing me to be insane. 
He now fully believed I had never been insane at all, and 
from that time he has been a father indeed to me. As proof 
of this assertion, I here give his certificate : 

"REV. SAMUEL WARE'S CERTIFICATE TO THE PUBLIC. 

This is to certify that the certificates which have appeared 
in public, in relation to my daughter's sanity, were given upon 
the conviction that Mr. Packard's representations respecting 
her condition were true; and were given wholly upon the au- 
thority of Mr. Packard's own statements. I do, therefore, 
hereby certify, that it is now my opinion that Mr. Packard 
has had no cause for treating my daughter Elizabeth as an 
insane person. SAMUEL WARE. 

OLIVE WARE.* 



Attest "> AUSTIN 
SOUTH DEERFIELD, August 2, 1866." 

LETTER TO MY BROTHER, S. WARE, OF BATAVIA, ILLINOIS. 

INSANE ASYLUM, June 15, 1862. 

MY DEAR BROTHER : I received a letter from your wife, I 
think in September, kindly inviting me to come to your 

*My step mother. My own mother has been dead twenty -four years' 



MY FAMILY KELATIVES. 197 

house upon my leaving the Asylum. Thanks, many thanks, 
kind brother and sister, for this kind offer, for it is one I can 
fully appreciate. Yes, your sister Elizabeth has no place on 
earth she can now call her home, but a prison. 

And I am not only homeless, but every means possible is 
used to impress upon my mind the feeling that I am friendless 
also. But I will not believe it. I know that adversity is 
the touchstone of friendship, and that sometimes, when we 
most need the sympathy and aid of friends, we find ourselves 
utterly forsaken. And I have too much reason to fear that 
my kindred have all concluded to leave me to the tender 
mercies of the cruel and disinterested. 

Yes, a letter, received yesterday, from Father, clearly de- 
monstrates the fact, that the cause of creeds requires that 
his daughter be branded with insanity ! Indeed, there was 
not one word of sympathy, or one love message in it, although 
I had just sent him a kind letter. My persecution reminds 
me of father Chinique's experience, when his friends forsook 
him. because he had forsaken the errors of the Catholic church. 
So I, when, from the clearest convictions of conscience, for- 
sook and exposed the errors of our church, and endorsed some 
truths found in the Methodist, the Baptist, the Unitarian, the 
Universalist, the Catholic, and other denominations; in short, 
when I endorsed the Truth, instead of Presbyterianism, for my 
creed, all my former friends almost, seemed to regard this ex- 
tension of charity to other denominations, as an unpardonable 
offence, deserving eternal banishment from them and all civil- 
ized society I This is the penalty I am called to bear, for the 
crime of becoming a self-reliant thinker, and tolerant Christian 
in the Presbyterian church. This Institution, my friends, and 
the church, may hold me on this rack of insanity as long as 
they choose ; I shall hold myself in defiance of them all, an 
independent thinker, and a charitable Christian. And too, I 
shall be all the more independent, on account of this opposition. 
I used to have an unbounded respect and reverence, almost, 
for Theologians and Doctors of Divinity : but I am happy to 
say, that now I have more respect for my own individuality, 
than for them all. 



198 TH PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

To you, my dear brother and sister, this may seem like an 
arrogant spirit ; but it is not. I do not say, like these 
Theologians, that my opinion is the standard for any other 
individual ; but, on the contrary, I say it is not. No other 
individual in the whole world is to be judged by this standard 
of belief but myself. Therefore, it would be arrogant in me 
to try to get you, or any other one, to adopt my standard as 
their own. God requires of you the same individuality that 
he is developing in me. God grant that you may be saved 
the fiery furnace I am compelled to go through to bring it out. 

I do not know where these things are to end, but my trust 
in God is lifting my soul above all anxiety or fear of evil. 
If you can do anything for me, do it, and you shall have my 
most grateful thanks forever. 

Your loving sister, ELIZABETH. 

I have no reason to think this letter was ever sent. Like 
my other letters generally, the Doctor otherwise disposed 
of it. 

And here it may be due my two brothers to state, that they 
both, like my father, sustained this conspiracy for too long a 
time, through the misrepresentations of Mr. Packard. But 
like him, they did it ignorantly, not wilfully; for just as soon 
as they saw me, and had an opportunity to judge for them- 
selves, they both became my valiant defenders, both publicly 
and privately, and have ever since seemed determined, by 
their extra kindness to me, to make all the restitution the 
gospel requires, as evidence of sincere repentance. Of 
course, I have long since, most freely forgiven them, for to 
me, they are like what Lazarus was to his sisters, " raised 
from the dead." This temporary death of their natural affec- 
tions seems to have been quickened into a new, higher, deep- 
er, and tenderer love for me than ever before. 

But to sister Mary, my brother Samuel's wife, is due the 
highest compliment, for she is one of the precious few who 
escaped the psychological influence of this learned and pop- 
ular minister, my husband, in that he could never, for one 
moment, convince her that I was an insane person. She, 



MKS. TIMMONS. 199 

with my adopted sister, Mrs. Angeline Field, of Granville, 
Illinois, both stood erect before this minister, on their version 
of his statements, in maintaining their own individual opin- 
ions respecting my sanity. But sister Angeline, I am happy 
to say, had her husband, Mr. David Field, to encourage and 
sustain her in defending my sanity; while sister Mary had her 
husband to combat, in defending me. 



XLV. 
Old Mrs. Timmons Deserted by Her Children. 

This lady was brought to the Asylum about one year and 
a half before I left. For several months she occupied the 
same ward with me, and from the day she was entered she was 
my daily companion. I took pleasure in her society as she 
seemed perfectly sane, and sorely afflicted at the fact that her 
friends would not let her remain with them at home. She 
was above sixty years of age, but showed no signs of prema- 
ture old age or ill health. The longer I saw her, the greater 
was my astonishment that she should be called insane. 

From her I learned the reason she was imprisoned was, that 
one night she got up in a sonambulic state and went to her 
son's bed, and inflicted two blows upon his cheek with an axe. 
This her friends regarded as evidence of insanity, although she 
had no recollection or knowledge of doing so. 

This son brought her to the Asylum, and the dreadful scar 
on his cheek authenticated her statement. She always ex- 
pressed the keenest sorrow and the most true penitence for 
having done this dreadful deed, for this was her favorite son. 
She was willing to do anything possible to atone for it, if she 
could but live at home with her dear children. She begged 
to be locked up nights by herself, lest she do an injury again 
to some one, but she could not bear to be put into this terri- 
ble place to spend her days as a criminal, when no one regret- 



200 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ted the deed being done more than herself. The thought of 
having thus harmed her darling child was agony enough, as 
she thought, to make atonement for the deed, without suffer- 
ing this awful penalty. 

Mrs. Timmonshad already endured one term of nine months 
imprisonment for this act, in an Asylum in Indianapolis, where 
she assured me the inmates were treated no better than they 
are at Jacksonsonville, and her friends knew that she had 
much rather be buried than to be put into another such insti- 
tution. Yet, they could tell her she was not going into an 
Asylum, but only going to consult a physician about her health, 
and thus they decoyed her behind another "dead lock," to be 
free no more ! As I listened to her expression of hopeless 
agony uttered when sure the Doctor could not hear, I could 
not but feel that the custom of professedly barbarous nations, 
which allows the aged and infirm to be left in the woods to be 
eaten by wild beasts, was not so barbarous a custom as this 
mode of disposing of unwelcome citizens, which the civilization 
of the nineteenth century has rendered popular ; for the lin- 
gering protracted tortures of dying in this institution, are far 
more to be dreaded than the shorter quicker mode of being 
devoured by wild beasts . Indeed , I often heard this distressed 
woman express this preference in these words, " 0, if Icould 
only live under a fence, for my home, rather than here, I would 
rejoice in the exchange ! anything or everything would I 
give for my liberty ! any death would be sweet to such a life 
as this 1" And yet this is a Christian institution ! 

Her maternal feelings reached such a pitch of agony that 
it was to relieve her I consented to write the following letter 
for her, which I sent to her friends on my "underground ex- 
press" April 26, 1862. 

"INSANE ASYLUM, January 29, 1862. 

My Dear Children: My heart is almost broken in conse- 
quence of the course you have taken towards me. Do write 
and explain yourselves, or what would be better, come and 
tell me, for as I now feel, it seems to- me I shall soon grieve 
myself to death. Why could you not take care of your poor 



MBS. TIMMONS; 201 

afflicted mother yourselves^ arid not again trust me with 
strangers where you know I have suffered so much. 0, do 
tell me why you have treated me so. You know I told you 
I was willing to live in a room by myself, locked up both day 
and night if you were afraid of me, if. you would only let me 
live at home and take care of me yourselves. 

You know too I have always done just as you told me with- 
out objecting in the least, and now how can you put me off so 
again? Did not John tell me he had forgiven me for injur- 
ing him? and have I ever attempted to injure any one else ? 
Is it not punishing me more than I deserve to imprison me 
twice for the same thing, when you say I was not to blame for 
doing it as I did ? 

You treat me worse than if I was a convict, for they do 
not deceive them, but tell them plainly, what they imprison 
them for, and for how long a time they must bear their pun- 
ishment. But this time you did not even tell me why you 
imprisoned me, nor do I know that you ever intend to trust 
me with you again! 0, I shall die of grief before long, unless 
you do something to alleviate my heart sorrows. I could not 
treat you as you have me, and 0, how could you punish me 
so severely for doing a sinless act? 

0, children, am I in danger of perpetuating my imprison- 
ment by revealing to you the inmost feelings of my heart? If 
so, what shall I do ? If my own children will not relieve 
their agonized mother, when it is so easy for them to do so, by 
simply taking me home, I do not know what I shall do. 

The hope that you will do so as soon as you consistently 
can, after getting this letter, will sustain me, till then, and 
when that hope is gone it seems to me I shall die truly. 

Do not delay one day, for you can not imagine how long 
time seems here ; one day seems like a month elsewhere. It 
is not that I am abused physically, for I am not. It is not 
this which causes my suffering, but the thought of your 
treating your old mother as you are which is killing me. Yes 
killing me ! For, my sake do not let the Doctor know of my 
sending you this letter. Your Mother. 

12 M. A. TIMMONS." 



202 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

But I am sorry to say that her relatives, did let the Doctor 
know of it, and did nothing else to relieve her ! The Doctor 
then removed her to another ward to cut off her commuica- 
tion with me, suspecting that I had helped, in some way, to 
get her letter out. I retained a copy of this letter in my jour- 
nal, and give it to the public- that my readers may see what 
feelings the Asylum discipline produces. Is it right to thus 
punish for a misfortune ? 

Her children came to visit her-twice while I was there, and 
although they found her working like a slave for the Asylum 
and Dr. McFarland's family, and never having shown the least 
abberration of mind, they would leave her, with the promise that 
just as soon as they could get a room prepared for her in the new 
house, they were building with her own money, (they were 
rich) they would take her home. They told her the room 
would be ready in about three weeks, and although nearly 
six years have already elapsed, this promise remains unful- 
filled ! The mother who bore them and earned for them the 
comforts of their own homes, is still left to pine away, a 
prisoner's life of rayless comfort, doing the cooking in the 
Doctor's kitchen. When these children become old and gray 
headed, how will they like to have their children treat them 
as they are treating their mother? " With what measure ye 
mete, it shall be measured to you again.". 



XLYI. 
Mrs. Cheneworth's Suicide Medical abuse. 

Mrs. Chene worth hung herself in her own room, after 
retiring from the dancing party, last night. Her measure of 
grace was not sufficient to enable her to bear the accumulated 
burdens of her hard fate any longer, without driving her to 
desperation. I can not blame her for deliberately preferring 
death, to such a life as she has been experiencing in this 
Asylum. She has literally been driven to it by abuse. 

She was entered in my ward, where she remained for sev- 



MRS. CHENEWORTH. 203 

eral weeks, when she was removed to the lowest ward, where 
she has been murdered by slow tortures. If this Institution 
is not responsible for the life of Mrs. Cheneworth, then I 
don't know what murder is. She was evidently insane when 
she entered ; she was not responsible, although her reason 
was not entirely dethroned. Her moral nature was keenly 
sensitive ; her power of self-control was crushed by disease 
and medical maltreatment. She resisted until she evidently 
saw it was useless to expect justice, and was just crushed be- 
neath this powerful despotism. 

She was a lovely woman, fitted both by nature and educa- 
tion to be an ornament to society and her family. Gentle 
and confiding, with a high sense of honor and self-respect, 
she despised all degrading associations. From her own rep- 
resentations, I inferred she had been the pet and pride of her 
parents a kind of household god in her father's family. 
Under these benign influences, her virtues were fostered, and 
she had the satisfaction of being loved and appreciated. She 
had been quite a belle, and finally from her many admirers, 
she married one of her own, but not of her parents' choice. 
In him she seemed to have found everything her heart could 
desire. He both loved and appreciated her, as well he might. 
She was small, delicately and gracefully formed, and peculiarly 
ladylike in her manners. She was a most accomplished dan- 
cer, having been trained in the school of the best French 
dancers in the country. Her complexion white and clear, 
with regular features, black, but mild and tender eyes, her' 
hair was long, black, and beautiful. In short, she was a little, 
beautiful, fawn-like creature, when she came to this Institu- 
tion. She had been here a short time once before, after the 
birth of her first child ; and from her account I inferred that 
her restoration to reason was not then attended with the grim 
spectre of horrors which must have inevitably accompanied 
this. 

She had left a young babe, this time, which her physician 
advised her to wean, since she was now in a delicate condi- 
tion. Thus her overtasked physical nature, abused as it was 



204 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

by bad medical treatment, added to the double burden she 
was called to endure, could not sustain the balance of her 
mental faculties. Her nerves were unstrung, and lost their 
natural tone by the influence of opium, that most deadly foe 
of nature, which evidently caused her insanity. The opium 
was expected to operate as a quietus to her then excited 
nervous system ; but instead of this, it only increased her 
nervous irritability. The amount was then increased, and 
this course persisted in, until her system became drunk, as it 
were, by its influence. The effect produced was like that of 
excessive drinking, when it causes delirium tremens. Thus 
she became a victim to that absurd practice of the medical 
profession, which depends upon poisons instead of nature to 
cure disease. 

It is not natural to cure disease by creating disease. To 
poison nature, is not the natural way to eradicate poison from 
the system. To load nature with additional burdens, is not 
the way to lighten its burdens. But common sense dictates 
that the natural way to aid nature in throwing off her dis- 
eases, is to strengthen the powers of healing, and thereby 
directly assist her in curing disease. And nature's energies 
are strengthened, renewed and nourished by rest, quiet, sleep, 
food, air, cleanliness, freedom, exercise, etc.; and medical 
skill consists in adapting these agencies to their peculiar 
functions, so that the special want of nature may be met by 
its natural supply. 

What Mrs. Cheneworth wanted was, the nourishment of 
her exhausted physical nature, by rest, food, air, and exer- 
cise. She did not need to have the powers of her system 
thrown into confusion by taxing them with poisons, which 
nature must either counteract and resist, or be overcome by 
them, and sink into death. Nature was importuning for help 
to bear her burdens, being already overtasked. But instead 
of listening to these demands, her blinded friends allowed her 
to be thus medically abused. After having suffered her to 
receive this treatment, and thus brought into a still worse 
condition an insane state when more than ever she needed 



MRS. CHENEWORTH. 205 

help and the most tender, watchful care; then to be cast off 
in her helplessness upon strangers, who knew nothing of her 
character, her habits, her propensities, her cravings, her dis- 
position, or her constitution; how could they reasonably 
expect her to thus receive the care necessary to her recov- 
ery? They probably did expect it, and on this false expec- 
tation placed her here for appropriate medical treatment. 

What a delusion the world is laboring under, to expect 
such treatment here ! Did they but know the truth, they 
would find that ail the "medical treatment" they get here, 
is to lock them up ! and thus having hidden them from obser- 
vation, and cut them off from all communication with their 
friends, they then inflict upon them what they consider con- 
dign punishment for being insane ! Why can not their friends 
bestow upon them this " medical treatment" at home, without 
the expense of sending them to this Asylum to get it? This 
is the sum and substance of all the " treatment " they get 
here, which they could not get at home that is, they could 
not get this treatment from reasonable friends, any where, out- 
side of these inquisitorial institutions. How doleful is this 
purgatory ! thus legally upheld for the punishment of the in- 
nocent! Great God ! Is this Institution located within the 
province of thy just government ? or is this Satan's seat, that 
has not yet been subjected to thy omnipotent power? 

Mrs. Cheneworth is only one among many, many others 
which her case represents. During the few weeks she was 
in my ward, after she first came, she was kindly treated. 
Perhaps her own parents could not have done better by her, 
than did Miss Tomlin and Miss McKelva, so far as their lim- 
ited powers extended. They could not grant her that liberty 
and freedom she so panted for, nor could they gratify her 
longings to see her own offspring, and bestow upon them the 
love of her maternal heart ; nor could they bring to her the 
sympathy of her fond mother, for which she so ardently 
longed; neither could they summon to her side her husband 
her chosen protector who had sworn before God never to 
forsake her in sickness or in health, although it was hor most 



206 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

earnest wish that he might come and see for himself, her con- 
dition. No, neither of these influences could these attend- 
ants summon for her relief or benefit ; but so far as the ward 
duties extended, they did as well by her as they could. 

I never saw either of them get the least angry or impatient 
towards her, although she tried them exceedingly by her an- 
tics. They seemed to feel that instead of getting angry at 
an insane person, they were placed here to "bear the in- 
firmities of the weak, and not to please themselves." Yes 
I feel that they have nothing to dread in the revelations of 
Mrs. Cheneworth's Asylum discipline. Of each of them I 
trust the Judge will say, " she hath done what she could" for 
her suffering sister. These attendants are highly cultivated, 
well developed women, who could enter into Mrs. Chene- 
worths feelings, and sympathise with her in her trials. They 
not only knew how to treat her nature, but their principles 
controlled their feelings, so that her trials might not be in- 
creased by any injudicious act on their part. Neither did they 
seem to despise her for being so sorely afflicted, but pitied and 
longed to help her. 

Alas ! for poor Mrs. Cheneworth ! her days for reasonable 
treatment expired when she was removed to the lowest ward, 
and consigned to the care of Elizabeth Bonner. This attend- 
ant was a perfect contrast to her former attendants in charac- 
ter, disposition, and habits. She was a large, coarse, stout 
Irish woman, stronger than most men ; of quick temper, very 
easily thrown off its balance, when, for the time being, she 
would be a perfect demon, lost to all traces of humanity. 
Her manners were very coarse and masculine, a loud and 
boisterous talker, and a great liar, with no education, and 
could neither read nor write. 

To this vile ignorant woman was Mrs. Cheneworth entrust- 
ed, to treat her just as her own feelings dictated. Miss Bon- 
ner's first object was to " subdue her," that is, to break down 
her aspiring feelings, and bring her into a state of cringing 
submission to her dictation. Here was a contest between her 
naturally refined instincts, and Miss Bonner's unrefined and 



MRS. CHENE WORTH. 207 

coarse nature. Any manifestation of the lady-like nature of 
Mrs. Cheneworth, was met by its opposite in Miss Bonner's 
servant-like nature and position, and she must lord it over this 
gentle lady. The position of the latter, as a boarder, must at 
her beck, be exchanged, by her being made to feel that she 
was nothing but a slave and menial. If she ventured to re- 
monstrate against this wanton usurpation of authority over 
her, she could only expect to receive physical abuse, such as 
she was poorly able to bear. And I the black tale of wrongs 
and cruel tortures this tender woman experienced at the hand 
of this giant like tyrant no tongue or pen can ever describe ! 
She was choked, pounded, kicked, and plunged under water, 
until well nigh strangled to death. Mrs. Coe assured me this 
was only a specimen of the kind of treatment all were liable 
to receive at her hands, since she claimed that this was the way 
to cure them ! and this she insisted upon, was what she was 
put here to do. Being strong, she was peculiarly adapted to 
her place, since no woman or man could grapple with her suc- 
cessfully. 

This is the attendant who so often made it her boast that 
Dr. McFarland let her do with the patients just as she chose 
that her judgement, her feelings, and her temper could be 
trusted in all cases ! 0, what is thereof injury and physical 
abuse that this institution will not have to answer for, which 
has not been inflicted by brutal attendants ; while Dr. Mc- 
Farland has sustained them by knowingly approving of these 
things ? I do not believe the Trustees would knowingly ap- 
prove of these things. But Dr. McFarland's statements are 
regarded by them as infallibly correct, and as he represents 
the treatment here bestowed upon the patient, they doubtless 
feel confident that they are humanely treated. But did they 
know, what I know, I believe they would disapprove of it, 
and not like Dr. McFarland, try to cover it up, lest the inter- 
ests of the institution be jeopardized by the investigation. 
The facts I have already placed before them in a written form, 
would of themselves arouse their interest and summon their 
immediate investigation, did they not, so implicitly rely upon 



208 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the Doctor's contradiction as proof of their fallacy ! In this 
way they are believing lies, and under this delusion, they are 
not only winking at iniquities, but publicly sustaining them. 
It is in their power to ascertain the truth, did they feel deter- 
mined to know for themselves. But this investigation would 
be attended with more trouble and inconvenience than it is to 
let it go on. and thereby these slothful servants of the public 
are justly held responsible for the wickedness of this house. 
0, what will the end be ? 0, sword ! awake for our defense 
and deliver us out of the hands of our persecutors ! 

Poor Mrs. Cheneworth could not await this retribution, but 
was driven to seek the only defense within her reach, death, yes 
death, the most dreaded of all evils, was chosen rather than 
such a life as she was doomed to endure under the rule ot this in- 
quisition. I can not, no, I cannot blame her for killing her- 
self. I do not think God will blame her. She was like one 
who deliberately rushed into the flames^ to escape the barbed 
arrows of an invincible foe. She only chose the quicker, 
rather than the lingering, agonizing death, to which she seem- 
ed inevitably doomed to suffer, at the hands of Elizabeth 
Bonner. 

The last time I saw Mrs. Cheneworth was at the dance, 
after which she hung herself, being found suspended from the 
upper part of her window by the facing of her dress. I never 
saw a person so changed. I did not know her when Miss 
Bonner introduced me to her that evening. 0, such a hag- 
gard look ! such despair and wretchedness as her countenance 
reflected, I have never witnessed. My feelings were touched. 
I asked her to go with me, and putting my arm around her 
waist, she walked with me across the ward to the window 
looking South. Here we conversed confidentially, freely. 
She said, " 0, Mrs. Packard, I have suffered everything but 
death since we were parted !" 

"But how has your face become so disfigured by sores, and 
what causes your eyes to be so inflamed?" 

"I fainted, and fell down stairs, and they poured camphor 
so profusely over my face, and into my eyes and ears, that I 
v-- Q> j n c^T-vr- -x UO T^~, 'Ven blind and deaf for somo time." 



MRS. CHENEWORTH. 209 

I do not know whether her chin, which was red and raw, 
was thus caused or not. She said the fall had caused her to 
miscarry, and thus, thought I, you have had to bear this 
burden in addition to the load of sorrows already heaped upon 
your tender, weak person. Said I, "Have you any hope of 
getting out of this place of ever being taken to your friends?" 

"No 1 none at all ! Hopeless, endless torment is all that is 
before me ! 0, if I could only get out of this place, I would 
walk to my father's house. It is only fourteen miles south, 
here," pointing out of the window, "but 0, these iron bars 1 
I can not escape through them." 

How I did pity her ! But I could only say, as I do to oth- 
ers, " Do try to be patient as you can ; for I do hope this 
house will not long stand, and that in its destruction, we may 
be delivered out of this place of torment." I had no other 
tangible hope to offer her drooping heart, already deadly sick 
from hope too long deferred. She said, "I wish I could get 
into the ward with you ; I will ask Dr. McFarland, to-morrow, 
to remove me there." 

" Alas ! " thought I, " no request of yours will be heeded, 
as a source of relief to you ; for it is not to relieve, but to 
torment you, that you are kept here. 0, could I but inform 
your parents of their dear daughter's sad fate, surely they 
would come to your rescue." Then I thought of the letter I 
had sent to Mrs. Timmons' friends in her behalf, and how, 
like deaf adders, they would not hear, or would not believe 
my statements, unless endorsed by Dr. McFarland. I turned 
away, sick at heart, at sight of woes I could not mitigate or 
remove. 0, when will the prisoner's bonds be loosed and the 
lawful captive be delivered? Notwithstanding, I think I 
offered to intercede for her, while, at the same time, I knew 
it would be utterly fruitless, as I have so often tried reason, 
argument and entreaty, only to find it useless. 

"Yes, Sister, I can not but congratulate you on what I 
believe to be your happy exchange ; for 1 do not think you 
can find, in all the universe, a worse place of torment than 
you found here. May'st thou find that rest in death that was 
denied thee on earth I " 



210 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Here we leave Mrs. Cheneworth, and turn with sorrowing 
hearts, to the group of bereaved ones at home those fondly 
loved ones, who have thus been called to lay upon the altar 
of sacrifice, this precious victim. 0, could you have forseen 
her sad fate, would you thus willingly have laid her upon such 
an altar? No, you would not. You could not, and lay claim 
to your humanity. You are not hard hearted and cruel to- 
wards this loved idol of your fondest affections. No, you 
would have cherished her with the tenderest care at home, 
had you thought it would have promoted her best good. 
Your hearts, I doubt not, wept the bitterest tears at the 
thought of being compelled to place her in an Insane Asylum. 
But these tears could not remove the necessity which you 
felt you had for so doing. Had you not reason in your own 
mind for believing that Insane Asylums were established for 
the benefit of the insane? Did you not suppose they had a 
competent medical faculty there, who knew better than your- 
selves, how to treat such cases? Yes, so you thought, as you 
ought to have had reason to think. 

But alas I for a blinded public ! Alas ! for man who is 
placed under an irresponsible human power. Such power, 
man is not fitted to be trusted with. Despotism too soon 
usurps the rule of reason and kindness, and might takes the 
place of right. Authority supplants kindness, truth, and 
honesty. After this love of domineering has once taken 
possession of the human soul, it can only be held by sinister, 
artful policy. Helplessness, weakness, and dependence are 
the virgin soil where tyranny and despotism hold their most 
resistless sway. But under the influence of our free govern- 
ment, power would probably cope with it successfully ; there- 
fore its policy consists in cutting off these victims from access 
to any power by which they would be exposed and dethroned. 
Therefore, they not only prevent communications with their 
friends while here, but forestall their confidence in their state- 
ments after 'they get out, assuring them they were so insane 
while here that they can not report correctly, and therefore 
their representations must be listened to as mere phantoms of 



CHANGES. 211 

a diseased imagination. Therefore, their friends hear as 
though they heard not. 

But the hitherto blinded public can no longer plead igno- 
rance as an excuse for not grappling successfully with this 
legalized despostism. No; the Legislature of this State are 
already informed, through their own Committee, of the im- 
perative need of such enactments, as shall hereafter forever 
prevent such abuse of power, by any future Superintendent, as 
their present incumbent is found to be notoriously guilty of. 



XLYII 
Changes, and how brought abont. 

After occupying the old Eighth ward about a year, we were 
all summarily ordered to move into the new Eighth. During 
the summer of 1861, this new and airy part of the building 
was my home, although the patients were not materially 
changed in character. Again, in the last of the autumn, we 
were all moved into the old Seventh. Now the class of pa- 
tients was changed to a more quiet class, and some of them, 
like Mrs. Timmons, sane and intelligent. Besides, we were 
now taking our meals in the dining room of the new Sev- 
enth the class of prisoners I associated with, the first four 
months. 

.1 felt that I was in the region of the intelligent world 
again, for part of the occupants of the new Seventh, were 
just as sane as most boarding school girls, or hotel boarders, 
generally. I seldom saw anything here, that would, outside 
of an Asylum, be considered insanity, or anything like it. 

I can assure my reader that I was fully prepared to appre- 
ciate a return to civilized society, and this change was, there- 
fore, to me a harbinger of good things. I could talk with 
my old associates at the other table, while at the table, and 
our fare and table arrangements were much alike now, which, 
of course, was a great improvement on our former -+~ l - T 



212 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

was allowed a good room by myself, and this being the first 
time for one year I had enjoyed this privilege, I felt that I 
had much to be thankful for. 

Another change affecting my prison life, took place about 

two months after Miss M got permission to take me to 

ride, which occasioned the prison doors to be closed entirely 
upon me. I felt it my duty to- enter a protest against my 
imprisonment, and in doing so, I asked Dr. Sturtevant, our 
Chaplain, to be my witness in the reception room. It was 
Sabbath, after chapel service that I went to him and asked 
him to meet me in the reception room. He consented, and 
we parted, he going down with Dr. McFarland and Dr. Tenny 
one flight of stairs, while I went down the opposite. When 
I was about two thirds of the way down, Dr. McFarland met 
me, and seizing my arm, ordered me back to my ward. I 
remained motionless. He then applied force, saying, " Have 
you no feet ?" 

"I have no feet to walk into prison with," said I. 

He then tried to drag me back ; but when he saw Dr. 
Sturtevant looking at us, he let go his hold of my arm, and I 
dropped from his grasp upon the floor below. He followed, 
and passed me without speaking, and joined Dr. Sturtevant 
and Dr. Tenny, where, after a short consultation, they passed 
down the stairs, while I still sat upon the floor. The fall had 
so stunned me, that for a few moments I hardly knew whether 
I could rise or not, but when I saw the three men who ought 
to be my protectors, and helpers, under such circumstances 
forsake me, I began to try my powers of self-dependence, and 
found I could not only rise myself, but could also stand alone 
too, without a man to lean upon! Strong in my own self- 
reliant strength, I hastened to meet my appointment with our 
chaplain in the reception room below, but found no one there. 
Nothing daunted by this failure on Dr. Sturtevant's part, I 
walked into the office and met the whole trio there. But for 
some unknown cause, Dr. McFarland seemed unwilling to face 
me, but, coward like, shall I say? fled out of my presence. 
The other two gentlemen did not run away, but looked me full 



CHANGES. 213 

in the face, while I entered my protest in the following 
language : 

'' I have a right to my liberty ! sfo law in the United States 
holds me legally imprisoned ! I assert this right I shall never 
return a voluntary prisoner to my cell!" Turning to Dr. 
McFarland, who now stood in the door- way, I said, "You, 
Dr. McFarland, have might to put me there, but no right. I 
assert my rights from principle. I believe God requires me 
to take this stand. I am immovable in my purpose. You 
can carry me to the ward with the help of two of your men, 
and I have no one to defend me against this power. I shall 
offer no resistance to physical force. Use it if you dare I 
You do so at your peril." Then handing him a letter, I said, 
"I request you to stamp and mail this business letter, unread, 
to my son. This step is preparatory to a legal defence of 
my rights at the bar of my country." 

Then turning to Dr. Sturtevant I said, " Will you, Sir, 
stand my witness that I now assert my rights, and therefore, 
am henceforth an involuntary prisoner here?" 

He replied, "I am your witness." 

" Now, Sir, my business with you is done, unless you wish 
to witness my forced return to my ward." 

The carriage had been some time waiting for him at the 
door, therefore after asking me to excuse him, he left. 

Dr. McFarland then said, "Are you going to compel us to 
put you back into the ward ?" 

"I shall never return a voluntary prisoner to my cell." 

"Then I must get a porter to take you back;" and he went 
for his porter, and soon returned with a strong burly Irishman, 
Mr. Bonner, to whom he said, "I want you to take this lady 
up to the Eighth ward, she don't seem disposed to walk back." 

He then took me up in his arms, but finding my weight too 
much for him, I suggested that they take me on a chair, and 
Dr. Tenny take hold with him This plan worked well, and 
I was therefore transported up two flights of stairs in this 
manner, preceded by the Doctor, who unlocked the prison 
door to receive the prisoner and no one could ever after say 



214 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

that I was a voluntary prisoner in Jacksonville Insane Asy- 
lum ; for from that time I never returned a voluntary prisoner 
to my ward. The Doctor also forbid my attending chapel 
service after that, so that I never was allowed to step my 
foot on the ground until I was discharged. I never regretted 
taking this step, as now I had done all I could do to get my 
liberty, and having entered my protest, I was thus exonerated 
from all responsibility, as in any way a willing accomplice 
in the conspiracy. 

There is one point in connection with this transaction, 
worthy of note that is, that my falling down stairs as I did, 
is, in Dr. McFarland's estimation, evidence of insanity in me; 
and he also maintains that this is the only insane act he de- 
tected in me, during all my three years imprisonment ! Now 
I think there was more evidence of insanity in Dr. McFar- 
land's conduct in this transaction, than there was in mine. 
He ought not to have left one of his prisoners in my condi- 
tion, until he had so much as inquired whether I could rise 
or not. He did not know but my bones were so broken that 
I could not. I think the Doctor's conduct was ungentlemanly 
to say the least, to treat a sane lady like myself, in this man- 
ner, and even if I had been insane, it would have been no 
excuse for this unmanly conduct towards one whom he claimed 
as his patient. 

The final change I experienced, was in being removed from 
the old Seventh to the old Eighth again, after having enjoyed 
the privileges of civilized society for a few weeks. This, my 
second consignment to the maniac's ward, was in the fol- 
lowing manner, as I find it recorded in my journal. 



NO SURRENDER. 215 

XLVIII. 
My Battle with Despotism No Surrender. 

The Doctor has to-day assigned me again to the Eighth 
ward, against my wishes. Since entering my protest against 
prison life, no rule of the house is binding upon my conscience, 
still, hitherto I have thought it best to break none in open 
defiance of the powers that be, only in getting paper and 
pencils, when and where I could, and in sending letters on my 
"Underground Express." But this unreasonable sentence, 
or mandate I felt conscience bound to resist, and I have done 
so from settled principle. I claim the right of a reasonable 
being, in being influenced in, and through my reason, and 
henceforth, throughout my whole life, I am fully resolved to 
resist all dictation, coming in the form of despotic mandates 
in defiance of reason. 

My first battle with despotism was now to be fought in re- 
sistance to this unreasonable command. Had the Doctor 
given me one reason why he wished me returned to the 
maniac's ward, I would have been satisfied to obey his com- 
mand, even if I did not see the propriety of his reason. But 
he did not, even when I asked for one. The facts were these. 

One day, after quietly enjoying my new surroundings for a 
few short weeks, the Doctor came to my room and in a very 
quiet pleasant tone remarked, "Mrs. Packard, I have given 
your letter to Mr. Russell, and the reply will depend upon 
him and his decision." 

"Thank you, Dr. McFarland." 

He then said, "Mrs. Packard, I have been making new 
arrangements I have fitted up the ward above you clean and 
nice, and I am to occupy it with a quiet class of patients, 
with Miss Smith and Miss Bailey for attendants ; I have 
thought it best to have you go and occupy the room above 
yours." That room was a screen-room ! 

I replied, " I did request to go to the new Eighth, to my 
airy, corner room, that I might have the benefit of purer air, 



216 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

since I am now so closely confined within doors, but I do not 
wish to go into the ward you assign me, because Miss Smith 
is a cruel attendant, and lam becoming so extremely sensitive 
to wrong and abuse, that I can not, nor shall not, witness it 
without interference, even if you put me into fetters for it." 

Here he remarked, " Perhaps you might benefit her do 
her good." 

"Perhaps I might I have thought of that ; still, I feel 
that I owe a duty to myself, also." 

Here he passed on, simply remarking, "I have decided to 
have you go." 

"And I have decided not to go ! It will be merely an act 
of brute force on your part that puts me there. It is a re- 
quirement of despotism, and I am conscience bound to resist 
it." 

Mrs. Page, one of the sane prisoners, said to me when the 
Doctor was out of hearing, " It is your duty to yield to des- 
potism, if it is Beelzebub himself who issues the command, 
if it comes in man form !" But Mrs. Page and I differ in 
opinion on that point. I agree to yield to reason every- 
where to despotism nowhere. 

The attendants from the Eighth ward soon called for me. 
I declined going, and related the above conversation with the 
Doctor. Miss Smith replied, "I do not abuse the patients 
the charge is a false one." 

" I hope it is; Miss Clauson says she thinks you are trying 
to do as well as you know how, and I hope you have improved. 
Mrs. McFarland told me she disliked the way you treated the 
patients, and she wished you were away ; but she added, 'she 
is good to the sick, and I wish to give her all the credit sho 
deserves.' But should we be together," I added, " I can 
assure you, I shall be a true friend to you I shall respect 
and honor your conscience I shall defend the abused and the 
wronged everywhere, whether attendant or patient." 

They replied, "We shall not, of course, force you to go 
with us," and went to report me to the Doctor. 

Next, Dr. Tenny was sent, to try what influence he could 



NO SURRENDER. 217 

have over me. I told him that "I could not see why the Doc- 
tor could not treat me as gentlemanly as he had of late begun 
to treat the maniacs, in asking them civilly, whether they 
were willing to go to another ward; and he has, to my knowl- 
edge, left it to their own wishes to decide this question. I 
know this is a great progressive step for him to take in the 
right direction, but why should I be singled out just now as 
an exception to this new era of events ? Despotism is making 
another attack for mastery over his better nature, and he 
ought to be restrained, for he has no moral right to rule a re- 
sponsible moral agent, except through their reason. For his 
good, as well as my own, I shall never submit to his rule over 
me in any other manner." 

Dr. Tenny replied, "He can not be governed by the wishes 
of the patients. It is my opinion you had better go." 

"It is my opinion I had better not go. So we differ in opin- 
ion here." 

Mrs. McFarland next came, and tried to influence me to go 
voluntarily. I remained firm. Many of my friends about 
the house, and my companions in the new Seventh ward tried 
to induce me to give up to the Doctor, and as I gave my rea- 
sons to one Mrs. Farnside, she remarked, "Well, suffer it to 
be so now." 

About eleven o'clock the next day, Dr. McFarland with 
twp of his porters, entered my room while I was packing my 
trunk to be transported. The Doctor very politely asked me 
if I would not go up myself. I replied, "No Sir ! I refuse 
from principle. I regard your order as an act of despotism, 
which I can not conscientiously countenance. " 

"Very well," and turning to the porters he said, "You take 
this lady up very gently, and carefully, don't hurt her, and 
carry her to her room." 

"Thank you, Doctor, for your kind cautions to handle me 
gently, for I am not as well as usual to-day, although better 
than I was early this morning. Can I finish packing my 
trunk ?" 

"Yes, yes, certainly. Your things shall all be taken 
-are of." K 



218 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

At my suggestion, the porters then formed a "saddle-seat" 
with their hands, upon which I sat, with my hands upon their 
shoulders, and thus they transported me very gently and 
safely to the upper ward, followed by the Doctor, and preceded 
by Miss Gerta DeLaHay. When within the limits of the 
ward, I said to my guard, "I can walk now I will not burden 
you any further." I then thanked them for carrying me so 
gently, and turning to Dr. McFarland, I inquired, "Can 
these men bring up my trunk ?" 

"Yes, certainly, you shall have all your things." 

The Doctor was true to his word I had all my things re- 
moved with me to this ward. 

As the Doctor left with his porter I remarked to my attend- 
ants " the Doctor can do a mean thing in the most alert 
gentlemanly manner possible. But I am determined to 
be a match for him in playing ' the lady' as far as he did 
' the gentleman.' His manner reminds me of Mrs. Waldo's 
remark, ' do the thing in a Christian spirit, and all will be 
right 1' But I think it is as impossible to do a wicked act in 
a Christian spirit' as it would be to murder or steal with a 
Christian spirit. Now I am under your care, and I have not 
sinned in coming, for the act was not mine, but Dr. McFar- 
land's, therefore, I hope to enjoy the smiles of an approving 
conscience, here as well as elsewhere. Will you now intro- 
duce me to my new associates ?" 

Miss Bailey replied, " Mrs. Packard, I do not think there 
is a patient in this hall who can answer a rational question 
in a rational manner." 

"I will not trouble you then to introduce me. Where is 
my room?" 

She then showed me the screen-room the Doctor had as- 
signed me. My attendants were amazed at this appointment 
and insisted there must be a mistake. But I told them this 
was the room above mine, and I should obey his orders in 
taking it. But before my carpet was cleaned and brought, 
Miss Smith had inquired of the Doctor why he had given 
me a screen-room, when the astonished Doctor, said he did not 



GOOD FKOM EVIL. 219 

know it was a screen-room, and directed her to let me have 
my choice of all the rooms in the hall. 

I accordingly chose a pleasant front room, which I occupied 
until I was discharged. I was allowed one favor here which 
had before been scrupulously denied me, during my prison life, 
and that was to have the liberty of closing the door of my 
room in the day time. 

I was never locked in my room nights, by any attendant 
after I had a room by myself. This too was a rare favor. As 
the Doctor has said, he had a quiet class of patients in this 
hall, so that with my closed door, I had a nice quiet place to 
write "The Great Drama," which was written in this room. 
The way in which this came to be written will appear in its 
proper place. 



XLIX. 
Good comes of Seeming Evil. 

I am now quietly settled in my new quarters. My pros- 
pects for quiet, rest and study, were never brighter. So true 
it is, that good comes out of seeming evil. The darkest prov- 
idences are often the stepping stone to prospective good. I 
have indeed been crucified again. The cross I have been 
hung upon, although by some, is regarded with contempt, yet 
like the scars the noble soldiers receive in battles, for the de- 
fense of their country, are yet, to be looked upon in their true 
light. I have had a battle against the rule of despotism here 
I did not surrender, neither was I conquered. Though the 
thing aimed at was accomplished, yet the power of despotism 
here is weakened more by the triumph than it could have been 
by the defeat. 

Miss Mattie Shelton, one of my attendants in the old Sev- 
enth said to me, " I can't blame you for doing as you do, we 
are all ruled with rigor here." 



220 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

"It is true that all who will submit to be trod upon, will 
surely be thus subjected. I shall stand on my own self-defense, 
and so must all who stand here. I hope Dr. McFarland will 
never try to rule an intelligent woman with force again." 

"Miss Johnston, attendant in the new Seventh says, "Mrs. 
Packard, you are strong both in mind and body, so you can bear 
this crucifixion better than a weaker subject could." 

"If lean help woman by suffering in her stead, I will re- 
joice in my sorrows." 

Under this date I find a copy of a letter I handed to Dr. 
McFarland, the first time he called upon me after my re- 
moval, as follows : 

DK. MCFARLAND : My heart is full, and I dare not attempt 
the verbal utterance of its deep emotions, lest I fail in this 
form, to give you a free and adequate expression of them. 
Therefore, pardon the intrusion of one more 'note upon your 
notice. Dr. McFarland, I love and respect your manly na- 
ture ; and inasmuch, as my love is genuine, just in that pro- 
portion am I grieved to see it eclipsed. The brighter the orb, 
the more conspicuous are its spots. The sun darkened ! Can 
there be a more fit emblem of earthly dreariness ? "What 
would an earth life be worth to woman with the manhood 
eclipsed? Let man, to whom woman clings so instinctively, 
become perverted, so as to persecute, instead of protect her, 
and she feels that the sun of her life is extinct. When man, 
made in God's form, loses this native dignity, I shrink as 
instinctively from such a nature, although in a man form, as 
my 'physical nature does from the touch of fire. And the 
pain which my moral nature experiences by such a con- 
tact, can be described by no emblem so fit as the effects of fire 
upon the live flesh. 

You may think me extravagant in my figures; still, I trust 
not, for your nature has not become so entirely perverted as 
not to appreciate and understand what I mean. Doctor, you 
are a true man. Despotism has eclipsed and darkened your 
nature, temporarily ; but I am sure the sun has not ceased to 
shine, but when the eclipse passes over, it will shino out 



BEADING. 221 

again, in all its original splendor. Indeed, my faith assures 
me that it will pas's over with you, sooner than with many 
inferior orbs. 0, for humanity's sake, God grant to hasten 
the time. 0, what a sight, to see one man dare to stand 
boldly upon his manliness, and defend injured woman, in de- 
fiance of human laws ! The world waits for such a man. 

Your sincere friend, E. P. ~W. P. 

To the casual reader, these changes may seem to conflict 
with the statement I have elsewhere made, viz: "From this 
Eighth ward I was not removed until I was discharged, two 
years and eight months from the day I was consigned to it;" 
but they do not in reality, for, although, for the purposes of 
repairs on the building, we changed our locality, yet the class 
of occupants did not thus materially change. And I find, on 
looking over my journal, that during these two years and 
eight months, there were a few weeks during that time, that 
Dr. McFarland did allow me to ride and walk with the 
patients. 

L. 
Beading Books and Papers. 

There is a library connected with this Institution, which 
the public designed for the use of the prisoners, and there are 
a large number of papers generously sent to the Institution 
as a free-will offering for the benefit of the prisoners. 

But it is due to the public and the patrons who bestow 
these gifts so kindly, that it should be known that these books 
and papers very seldom find their way to the prisoners in the 
wards. Even while I was an occupant of the Seventh ward, 
it was with great difficulty I could get either; and while in 
the Eighth, it was almost impossible for me to get one, ex- 
cept clandestinely and by strategy. A nd were it net for the 
special kindness of Dr. Tenny, Mr. and Mrs. Coe, and Mrs. 
Hosmer, I should have been left to famish from mental star- 
vation. It was war time, too, when daily events of the most 



222 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

thrilling kind were occurring, and I felt it to be a great pri- 
vation to be deprived of the news of the war. 

Among my Asylum papers I find a copy of a letter I 
handed to Dr. Sturtevant, one day, after chapel service, 
wherein my feelings upon this point are portrayed as follows: 

APRIL 20, 1861. 

DB. STURTEVANT: Dear Brother in Christ. Entombed 
alive, as I am at present, I, as an intelligent being, suffer 
greatly from being deprived all communication with the 
world outside this Asylum, so far as Dr. McFarland can pre- 
vent it ; and fully believing that you, kind Brother, " suffer 
as bound with me," I venture to ask of you an expression of 
this sympathy, by furnishing me with the reading of the 
Independent, weekly, by 'bringing it to me, one each Sabbath, 
when I will exchange the previous one. 

Did you but know how 1 long to keep informed of what is 
transpiring now in my country, at this eventful crisis, I do 
know you would pity me; and not scruple to grant so reason- 
able a request, of an afflicted sister in bonds. Still, I will 
not murmur if you turn me off with an excuse, rather than 
grant my request ; for I know that God rules in the hearts of 
men, and he turneth them whithersoever he will ; and I have 
long schooled myself to submission to all God's appointments, 
as providence develops his wishes. 

Since I am suffering for conscience sake alone, I see no 
prospect, on the natural plane, but that it will necessarily be 
life long, since I never can relinquish my right to " obey God 
rather than man," when I know these mandates conflict. 
So long as I will not take man's judgment instead of my con- 
science for my guide, I must remain imprisoned in this Asy- 
lum ! And yet, this is free America ! 

Yes, Dr. Sturtevant, I fully believe that my country will 
not prosper, so long as woman is suffered to be thus treated. 
But so far as I am concerned, "all is well." Nothing can 
harm me. God is my only trust and shield. Fear not for 
your sister in bonds, although her persecutions increase 
almost daily in intensity. By the help of your prayers, and 



READING. 223 

those of God's faithful ones in my behalf, I know I shall be 
ultimately delivered out of the hands of my sagacious ene- 
mies. By faith I stand. Through God I shall do valiantly. 
I shall trust God by doing right, and thus wait his deliverance. 
Your sister in bonds, E. P. "W. PACKABD. 

To the discredit of Dr. Sturtevant, the honored President 
of Illinois College, and the sacred profession of the ministry 
whom he represents, I am sorry to add that he took no notice 
of my request, not even so much as to give me any excuse 
for not lending me his Independent to read I 

The letter shows what confidence I then had in his Chris- 
tian character, and in his manliness as being "woman's 
friend." And it was a true index of my feelings towards that 
class, who profess to be the ministers of our holy religion, 
and the practical followers of that Master whose cause they 
pledge to defend as their chosen profession. Therefore, as a 
sister in need, I, of course, expected a Christian response to 
my appeal to one of this class especially. But lo 1 ''ye did 
it not," must certainly be said of this man, among this revered 
profession. 

This incident has taught me that it is not the profession 
which makes the man, but it is the manner in which its duties 
are performed and its high responsibilities are discharged, 
which is to determine the standard of merit among ministers, 
as well as men in other professions. In short, ministers must 
be judged by the same standard as other men they must 
stand or fall upon their own individual actions, not upon their 
position or profession. 

Another lesson taught me by this incident and its subse- 
quent events, was, that if we do right, we shall feel right : if 
we do wrong, we shall feel wrong. So long as this, our 
chaplain, treated me as a man and a Christian, he felt like a 
man and a Christian towards me. But just as soon as he for- 
sook this standard of action, his feelings forsook this standard. 
He began to treat me unsympathizingly he began to feel 
cold towards me ; and the more he manifested this coldness 
the more unsympathizing and unfeeling he became. Thus he 



224 THE PRISONEK'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

closed up the avenues to his warm, manly heart, by his own 
heartless actions, or inaction, which, if continued sufficiently 
long, will inevitably ossify this noble heart, which was made 
to reflect Christ's own image. 

But Mr. J. C. Coe, finding how I was situated, very mag- 
nanimously took a St. Louis daily paper for the express 
purpose of supplying me with the daily news, and Mrs. Coe, 
his wife, daily brought it to me under her apron ; so that it 
was not known at headquarters how I got my knowledge of 
passing events, any more than how I passed out my letters. 

Dr. Tenny also kin'dly brought me the Independent weekly, 
which he took at his own expense, and for the purpose, as he 
said, of accommodating some of his friends in the Asylum. 

Mrs. Hosmer brought me some of her papers also, occasion- 
ally, and by a special permission from Dr. McFarland, she 
brought me, at times, a volume of her own books to read, on 
the subject of Swedenborgianism. 

Why the Doctor wished to deprive his prisoners of this 
relief and amusement, is a mystery I could never fathom. I 
sometimes thought it was to increase the mental torment of 
his prisoners, that he thus heartlessly denied them this right 
the State had granted them. I have heard intelligent pa- 
tients beg and plead with him to bring them a paper or a book 
to read, while he would pass speechlessly on, seeming not to 
hear a word they were addressing to him. This indifferent 
manner would sometimes arouse the indignation of the peti- 
tioners to such a pitch that they would heap curses upon him 
after he left, often affirming, "He comes to the wards for 
nothing else but to torment us ! " 

But I am happy to say, that during a favored period of my 
prison life, he not only allowed me to read Dr. Channing's 
works, but I think he has exchanged the volumes for me him- 
self, and once he brought me one of his own volumes of 
Shakespeare's works. 

I notice in a Chicago paper of January 14, 1868, Dr. 
McFarland advertises for books to be sent to the Institution 
for the benefit of the patients. I think if the public knew 



MRS. STANLEY. 225 

how indifferent he feels in relation to the wants and comforts 
of his patients, they would not be over anxious to stock their 
library with books while Dr. McFarland was the State's 
Librarian. 



LI. 
Abusing Mrs. Stanley. 

My worst fears respecting the management of this ward, I 
am sorry to say, were fully realized. Miss Smith was natur- 
ally very quick tempered, and having had it aroused, by ward 
scenes, into a most unhealthy exercise for many months, she 
had now become extremely irritable and cross also, so that 
her atmosphere was anything but salutary and pleasant to the 
prisoners under her charge. Indeed, the contrast between her 
management, and the quiet, kind and gentle influence of 
Miss Tomlin, and her associate, Mrs McKelva, was truly pain- 
ful, and, to me, a return to the old system of punishment and 
abuse, was rendered doubly painful, after so long a cessation 
of hostilities. Had I been removed from the Asylum instead 
of to this ward, I should have felt confident in the pleasing 
hope that a reform had really been inaugurated, when I now 
see that it was only local and spasmodic in its extent and na- 
ture. 

My feelings were first hurt in witnessing Mrs. Stanley's 
abuse. She is a high spirited, quick tempered lady, about 
thirty -five years of age, the mother of several children. She 
had been delicately reared, of aristocratic feelings, and unused 
to labor, except so far ns the superintending of her servants 
and nursery are concerned. Indulged and gratified herself, 
she had not learned how to have her wishes crossed, and 
maintain at the same time her equanimity. Miss Smith or- 
dered her one day off from her bed, in terms so authoritative 
and stern, that it aroused the invalid's temper, and she remon- 



226 frHE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 



strated, and 'claimed the need she felt of lying upon her bed 
on account of sickness. This argument was considered by 
Miss Smith as a justifiable reason for laying violent hands up- 
on her, and pulling her suddenly from her bed upon the floor, 
when, as usual, a fight was commenced, and Miss Bailey -was 
summoned to assist Miss Smith in "subduing" Mrs. Stanley ! 
After fighting awhile, Mrs. Stanley constantly ordering them 
to let her alone, they concluded to try the " cold bath" to 
" subdue" her. Fearing and dreading this punishment more 
than all others, she, in the most reasonable manner urged the 
soundest logic against it, in her present state of health, and 
then begged and prayed that, for her health's sake, if nothing 
else, they would spare her this exposure. She said, "Miss 
Smith, I am sorry! I ask your pardon! 0, do forgive me ! 
pray do, I won't do so again." Still they persisted, regardless 
of her entreaties, confessions and prayers. I went to the 
bath room, hoping my presence might restrain them, and I 
begged them to forgive her. But they would not. After 
pouring a pail of cold water on her head, Mrs. Stanley said 
"won't you now kiss me?" 

" No !" said Miss Smith, "I won't kiss those who will talk 
as you do." 

Here I said, "do forgive her I for you will sometime want 
forgiveness yourself." She then stopped with the threat, "if 
you speak another word you shall not have one mouthful of 
food all day !" 

Miss Smith then turned to me saying, " I am not going to 
take abusive language from a patient." 

In a low tone I replied, "you must remember she is insane, 
and you cannot expect her to do as a sane person would." 

" She is not as insane as she pretends to be ; she knows how 
to behave better, and I will not bear abuse from her !" 

" We sane ones ought to bear more than we can expect them 
to bear," I replied. 

Another incident connected with the fight. Mrs. Kinney, a 
very sympathetic patient, seeing how Mrs. Stanley was be- 
ing misused, interfered, and pulled Miss Smith off. Here was 



MRS. STANLEY. 227 

another severe fight, which resulted in forcing Mrs. Kinney 
into a side room, and locking her up. After all the fighting 
was over, Miss Bailey looking at her finger remarked, "I don't 
know but my finger is broken." I thought "if you inquired if 
you had broken any of the patient's bones, itwouldbe becom- 
ing." Thus this weak, delicate woman, who was placed here, 
to receive kind, humane treatment, as the laws direct, is thus 
allowed to be abused, her own health and nerves to suffer per- 
haps an irreparable injury, from those from whom it is impossi- 
ble to escape; and wrongs from which too, there is no redress, 
since all the witnesses are outlawed by the brand of insan- 
ity ! 

The oppressed find in this ward no comforter, except it be 
in defiance of the reigning powers. I have, and do still, defy 
them, so far as to try to comfort the broken hearted, to sym- 
pathize with them in their sorrows, and these are the evidences 
of my insanity, which call for my protracted martyrdom ! 

There is no necessity for abusing a patient. I have seen 
both systems tried, abuse and kindness; and kindness is by far 
the easiest, safest course. And, besides, these prisoners 
are the boarders of the house, and the attendants are the 
hired servants, and this distinction ought to be recognized as 
an inspiring feeling of respect attending the patient's welfare. 
Kind attendants, sometimes get abuse from maniacs, but feel- 
ing required to "bear the infirmities of the weak, 1 ' they never 
feel justified in returning abuse for abuse, "but contrawise 
blessings." They soothe and calm, where the irritable at- 
tendant excites into the heat of passion. Under Mrs. DeLa- 
Hay's reign of injustice. I have seen the forbearance and 
magnanimity evinced, operate to inflame her malignity, and 
have heard her even twit them with imbecility and weakness, 
thus calling these heroic virtues "their insanity !" When she 
would move them into a manifestation of resentment, sho 
would exult, as if she was now justified in abusing to any ex- 
tent, because they are insane I 



228 THE PEISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LII. 
Subduing a New Prisoner. 

One night I was aroused from my slumbers by the screams 
of a new patient, who was entered in my hall. The welcome 
she received from her keepers, Miss Smith and Mijs Bailey, 
so frightened her, that she supposed they were going to kill 
her. Therefore, for screaming under these circumstances, 
they forced her into a screen room and locked her up. Still 
fearing the worst, she continued to call for help. Instead of 
attempting to soothe and quiet her fears, they simply com- 
manded her to stop screaming. But failing to obey their or- 
der, they then seized her violently and dragged her to the 
bath room, where they plunged her into the bath tub of cold 
water. This shock so convulsed her in agony that she now 
screamed louder than before. They then drowned her voice 
by strangulation, by holding her under the water until nearly 
dead. When she could speak, she plead in the most piteous 
tones for " help ! help !" But all in vain. The only response 
she got was "will you scream any more !" She promised she 
would not, but to make it a thorough " subduing," they 
plunged her several times after she had made them this prom- 
ise ! My room was directly opposite with open ventilators 
over both doors, I could distinctly hear all. 

This is what they call giving the patient a "good bath !" 
But the bewildered, frightened stranger, finds it hard to see 
the "good" part of it. The patient was then led, wet and 
shivering, to her room, and ordered to bed, with the threat, 
"If you halloo again, we shall give you another bath." The 
night was very cold, and I lay under my winter's amount of 
bed clothes to keep me comfortable, while this shivering girl 
was allowed only a sheet and one thin blanket to cover her. 
She told me the next morning that she lay almost frozen all 
night, and complained of universal soreness for many days 
after. For a long time I could see black and blue spots all 
over her bo'dy, caused by this violent handling of her tender 
frame, in putting he r through the process of initiation "the 



SUBDUING A PRISONER 229 

The next morning I was awakened by hearing Miss Smith 
reprimand her most sternly for wanting her shoes, which she 
could not find. Instead of trying to pacify her, she forced 
her shoeless patient to the bath room, and held her head under 
the streaming faucet ! The frightened one screamed for 
" help ! " for she had not yet learned the sad truth, that she 
was out of the reach of all human help, now that she had 
passed the fatal "dead lock" of a charitable State institution. 

She kept calling for her shoes. Miss Smith had promised 
them to her after she had washed. This being done, she 
called for her shoes. Now Miss Smith requires her hair to 
be first combed, and having obeyed this order also, she again 
calls for her shoes. At this point, my feelings drove me to 
the spot, to defend the rights of the stranger, where I found 
.Miss Smith, with upraised hands over her victim, ordering 
her to "stop I" I whispered in Miss Smith's ear, "I would 
get her shoes for her." 

She turned angrily upon me, and said, "I shall not be 
interfered with 1 I know what I am about I havn't seen 
her shoes I know nothing about them." 

I left, and went to breakfast. Soon after, Miss Smith 
came in with her unhappy, shoeless patient, and ordered her 
to sit down and eat her breakfast. The patient wanted her 
shoes first, but no request of hers was noticed. "You may 
eat or not, just as you choose," said Miss Smith, as her only 
response to her inquiry for her shoes. 

This was her first meal among this great crowd of strangers 
in this strange place. I could not help pitying this friend- 
less one, and as I passed her on my return from the dining 
room, I put my arm around her waist, and kindly invited her 
to come to my room, telling her, at the same time, that I 
would be a friend to her, and treat her kindly. She replied, 
"That is all I want." I told her I would ask the attendants 
to find her shoes that it was their duty to attend to her 
wants, and keep all her clothing safe for her. Her neck was 
cold, as her dress was very low, and she had lost her cape. 
I sought for it in her room, but not finding it, I asked the 



230 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

attendants for it, but they said that they knew nothing about 
it. I then lent this shivering girl a sacque of my own, and 
asked her to sit down in my room, upon my trunk, which I 
had covered with a cushioned top for a seat for my guests. 
She seemed rejoiced to have found a friend, and clung to me 
as to her last hope. She would not leave me without a 
promise that she might return. She said her father told her 
she should have all she wanted when she got here, and that 
I should see a great many nice things. "But all I want is to 
be treated kindly." 

I told her I thought the attendants would soon look for her 
things that they had many to look after that we must try 
to be patient. She waited several hours ; again her lost 
shoes began to trouble her, as she wished to go out, if I would 
accompany her ; and if she might return again to my room. 
I offered to lend her a pair, and had just handed them to her, 
when Miss Bailey came in with the missing shoes and cape 
also. The other prisoners were now going to walk, and she 
wished to go too, but Miss Smith decidedly refused, giving 
her no reason, except, " I think it is best you should not go." 

I tried to relieve her disappointment, by telling her, "I 
presume they choose to wait a few days, to see how you be- 
have. They may fer you will try to run away now; and 
besides, you have not rested from your long journey in the 
cars, and they think it better that you keep quiet a few days." 

She seemed easily satisfied, and remarked, "I presume the 
bath will do me good, but I hope I shall not need another. 
If ever I have to take another bath, won't you be with me ?" 
She said she thought that was baptism; she had now been 
twice baptized once in a creek, and now by these two 
women I 

She often complained of being hungry. I went to Miss 
Bailey, and asked her if I might take her key and go to the 
dining room closet, and get her some bread and butter, as the 
law allows the patients a piece between meals, if they need 
it. Miss Bailey said, "I think she must be hungry, for she 
did not eat any breakfast," and went and got her some, her- 



SUBDUING A PRISONER. 231 

self. I devoted the day to her comfort and amusement, and 
she seemed, before night, to be quite cheerful and content- 
ed. She was uniformly quiet and peaceable, and disposed 
to do the best in her power. I am fully satisfied that the 
scene in the bath room was entirely owing to mismanagement 
on the part of the attendants. There is never any occasion 
for fighting a patient. The State has furnished a screen 
room for the restraint of the pugnacious ones, and the 
room should be used for only such, and at such times as they 
need restraint. 

Another initiating process. Miss Smith said she thought 
she should be obliged to cut off her hair, since she had " creep- 
ers" in it. The patient did not wish to lose her fine hair, and 
I remonstrated against it, saying that I thought she had no 
right to do so without their own or their friends' consent, for 
they always felt bad to find it had been done, when they had 
recovered. Besides, the Institution furnishes ointment for 
the evil she deplored. I made a thorough investigation my- 
self, and found no cause for the excuse she gave for cutting 
her hair. I found the reason she wished it shingled, was, to 
save her the trouble of combing it. She yielded to my ap- 
peal, and thus was the long black hair of this young lady 
saved to her, by my interposition. I had given my word to 
this lonely one, that she should find in me a friend, although 
I knew not what disaster to my own interests might be the 
result. But, since I have nothing to lose but my life, I am 
willing to risk it in defense of the oppressed and down-trod- 
den. I will simply dare to do my duty, remembering Christ's 
word, that if " I am ashamed of him and his words, he will 
be ashamed of me." I never was in any place where Christ's 
principles were so ignored and contemned as in this doleful 
prison house. I have detailed this single case as a type of 
others of daily and almost hourly occurrence here, the bare 
mention of which would fill a volume. 



232 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LIII. 

Treatment of the Sick. 

I had for my dormitory companion for more than one year, 
Miss Emily Goldsby, who was sadly afflicted with epileptic 
fits. It was for this she was sent to this Asylum for treat- 
ment, and for this purpose she consented to come. But like 
all other similar expectations, this hope went out in utter 
darkness, under her Asylum experience. Her mental facul- 
ties had already become somewhat impaired, in consequence 
of these fits, and both she and her friends, fondly hoped that 
under the medical treatment of the far famed Dr. McFarland, 
the cause of this aberration might be mitigated, or removed. 
But she had scarcely anything done for her by way of med- 
ical treatment, although I often heard her intercede with the 
Doctor, to either do something to cure her, or send her home 
to her friends. But he could not be prevailed upon to do 
either, so that she lingered out a most wretched imprisonment 
of many years, uncared for and apparently forgotten. Her 
friends thus finding that it was easier for them to be relieved 
of the care of her, than it was to take care of her them- 
selves, and when at last they were obliged to take her away, 
they cast her into a county house ! She not only got no treat- 
ment for her disease, but no care even when she had her fits, 
except what I gave her. One night, before I could get to 
her bed, she fell on to the floor in one of her fits, and broke 
her collar bone. This accident caused her a great deal of 
suffering, and she daily appealed to the Doctor for relief; but 
he would turn silently away without seeming to hear her. I 
finally influenced Dr. Tenny to look at it, and see for him- 
self that she had need of medical help. He was satisfied 
that the bone was fractured, and sent her some liniment 
which relieved her pain. 

She had, at several different times, periods of unusual 
irregularity of conduct, so that she could not sleep for sev- 
eral nights in succession, nor could her room-mate sleep 



TREATMENT OF THE SICK. 233 

with her. I was her constant and only watcher, and nurse 
during the whole year, including these periods. One time, 
after several sleeples? nights, I said to Dr. McFarland, "I 
am willing to do my share of hospital nursing, but I am 
not willing to sacrifice my health in this cause, and therefore, 
I wish you would make some change for a few nights, at 
least, so that I may get a little sleep." But he passed on 
without making any reply whatever, leaving me to quiet my 
patient as best I could, and get my own sleep where I could 
find it, or go without it if I could not. 

There was another lady in our hall who needed medical treat- 
ment, for a weakness which caused her attendants some 
trouble about her bed ; and although she was over sixty years 
of age, she was punished for it as if she were a child, instead 
of being medicated as she needed. She was lady-like, intel- 
ligent, perfectly submissive, and uniformly quiet. She was 
always neatly and genteelly dressed, and had I met her out- 
side of an Insane Asylum, 1 should never have had a suspicion 
of her being an insane person ; I never saw anything like 
insanity in her. This lady had to be punished daily, morning 
after morning, with the horrors of the plunge bath, because 
she caused her attendants trouble about her bed. She was 
not to blame for causing them this trouble, for she could not 
help it. She used to come to my room after these death-like 
strangulations by water, and say, "0, Mrs. Packard, I thought 
they would kill me this morning ! I only wish I had died, for 
now I am only spared to go through it again to-morrow, for I 
can't help it. I lie awake all the time I possibly can for fear, 
but sleep will overcome me, tnd then I am guilty of an 
'insane act,' as they call it, for which there is no escape from 
this terrible punishment." I reported her case to her mar- 
ried daughter who visited her. But she took no notice of 
this defense of her mother's rights, but left her defenseless 
as ever, at the tender mercy of the Superintendent, in 
whom she expressed the most unbounded confidence ! This 
daughter's visit to her mother is described in the following 
chapter, showing the legitimate tendency of Insane Asylums 



234 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

to extinguish natural affection. I present it to my readers 
as I find it recorded in my journal. 



LIT. 
Mrs. Leonard's Yisit to her Mother. 

Yesterday I met Mrs. Leonard, who is here on a visit to 
her mother. I advised her to take her mother home, and be- 
stow upon her a daughter's kind and dutiful care and attention, 
instead of leaving her to the care of strangers. 

She replied, "Why, I think it looks pleasant here. Don't 
you enjoy staying here?" 

"No, I do not; this is a very unnatural life, compelled to 
live as we do. Defenseless, exposed to abuse, separated from 
all our friends, and cut off from all intercourse with them, 
shut out from the world and all the privileges of society and 
citizenship, and worse than all, confined for an indefinite 
period." 

"Why, I think I could be happy here." 

"You may perhaps have an opportunity to test it ; you may 
become insane, and then confined here; or you may, like many 
others, be confined here without being insane, and thus learn 
by your own experience, what it is to be cast off by your own 
children, as you have cast off your own mother ; for 'with 
what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.' 
Your mother is liable to abuse here, and I am her witness 
that she receives it, too." 

"It seems pleasant here. I do not think they would make 
a false impression upon strangers." 

"A stranger passing through here, knows nothing about 
the management of the house. When the friends visit, they 
are told by the employees, that their friends are well taken 
care of that they are contented and happy ; and if the injured 
one dares to contradict these statements, they are sure to be 
punished for it as soon as the friends get out of sight. Besides. 



MES. LEONAKD'S VISIT. 235 

these visitors are instructed not to heed anything the prison- 
ers say, and an attendant is to keep her ear open to the 
conversation which her charge has with strangers, and is in- 
structed to urge them on if they tarry to hear anything they 
wish them not to hear. The patients fearing to tell the truth, 
and denied an opportunity of doing so, the visitor leaves with 
a very false impression, and this dust which is thrown into 
his eyes, prevents his seeing anything for himself, just as is 
the case with you now." 

"But the friends place them here, believing it is for their 
good," she replied. 

Yes, under this sophistical plea they take the first wrong 
step. The neglected and injured relative, finds a class of 
emotions germinating in his heart, which inevitably culminates 
in alienation, and irreconcilable enmity frequently ensues. 

The wrong doer makes the first infringement upon the law 
of love by not doing as they would be done by. Every advanced 
step in the wrong direction leads them into deeper and deep- 
er darkness, until at length, they become so blinded and cal- 
lous that they lose all traces of humanity, and thus become 
entirely perverted and fallen. 

" I could clearly discern in Mrs. Leonard, that she had be- 
come sadly indifferent to her mother's welfare. She had got 
rid of a burden by putting her off upon the care of others ; the 
laws approved of her course : it was even regarded by per- 
verted humanity as her duty thus to treat her ; the tender 
yearnings of her true nature were stifled, and she was left to 
moral judicial blindness. I told her she would not like to be 
thus cast off, if incapable of taking care of herself; instead of 
this, she would claim that this was just the time she most 
needed her friends' care and assistance. "When well, and able 
to care for herself, she had better be then abandoned, rather 
than in a defenseless condition. ! these insane institutions 
are one of Satan's well designed plans for the detriment, and 
ruin of humanity, under the specious plea of benevolence. 
We know it must be Satanic in itd origin, for its first princi- 
ple is a trangression of the divino command of love, to our 



236 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

friends and relations. How can it have become possible that 
these houses could have secured such a hold upon the con- 
science and intelligence of the nineteenth century in enlight- 
ened America? It certainly must be a perverted Christianity 
which could countenance, and sustain institutions of such 
notoriously infamous character. It is the specious deceptive 
character of these professedly benevolent institutions, that 
render them so dangerous, and such a snare to the world. 

If they would 'only show their real character openly, as In- 
quisitons and Penitentiaries, of the worst kind, the danger to 
humanity would be mitigated to the greatest extent ; for few 
are so lost to a desire for the esteem of others, as to do such an 
outrageous act openly and professedly, for the purpose of tor- 
turing their afflicted friends by sending them to the Inquisi- 
tion for that purpose. But as it is, thousands are doing that 
very deed knowingly to themselves, but ignorantly to the 
world, through the specious plea of sending them to a hospital 
for " their good." Does,- not the arch adversary exult in 
this successful achievement of his purpose to destroy humanity, 
through this perversion of his peculiar godlike faculty be- 
nevolence ? Has he not employed his strongly marked agent, 
Dr. McFarland's benevolent organization, through whom this 
strategic plan can be made practical ! Is any plea more often 
urged in support of his despotism here, than " their good re- 
quires it !" What more popular argument could he use in 
support of his deceptive acts, than " their good" in the esti- 
mation of " the great, the good, the intellectual, Dr. McFar- 
land's opinion requires it ?" 0, Dr. McFarland, " their good" 
is only one of your artful plans to promote your own self-ag- 
grandizement ! 

This morning Mrs. Leonard came to the bars, and seemed 
desirous of speaking to me. I left my work, which was clean- 
ing my bedstead, went to the bars and talked a little more 
with her. I told her the patients in this ward were treated 
like slaves and menials ; that the attendants claimed to be their 
overseers, and ordered them to do the work which they were 
hired to do. This morning, Miss Smith has ordered them to 



MES. LEONARD'S VISIT. 237 

wash -their own bedsteads, and requires them to doit, whether 
they are willing or not. Some object, saying that they are 
not put here to work that they have not been used to such 
work, and the laws do not require it of them. Still she says 
they shall obey her, in all she chooses to tell them to do, etc. 
There is Mrs. Stanley, for instance, who has not been used to 
such work, having had hired help all her days, and she objects, 
but Miss Smith told her she should have no breakfast until 
she had done all she had told her to do. She started for 
breakfast; Miss Smith ordered her back, repeating her threat. 
I did not tarry to see how the quarrel terminated. One fact 
is evident, she went without her breakfast, and seemed to feel 
like a much injured woman. I told Mrs. Leonard that Mrs. 
Stanley was right in saying to Miss Smith that she had no 
right to speak so to her, and order her about in that style, for 
the laws forbid it Miss Smith being her servant, and the 
laws expressly forbid involuntary servitude. Still as it is, 
we are regarded and treated as their slaves, or as convicts in 
a Penitentiary, condemned to work or risk the penalty of dis- 
obedience. I added, "this is one of the greatest systems of 
oppression and cruelty to human beings, 'the world ever wit- 
nessed." 

She listened with the indifference of a stoic, apparently, 
and left me abruptly without making any remark. I returned 
to my duties, feeling that I had done all my duty to her, to 
get her eyes open, to see what the rules of the house are. My 
hope was that the latent spark of filial feeling towards her 
aflicted mother might be revived, and she, under its natural 
promptings, be induced to take her mother home. But all my 
efforts to enlighten her, seemed like water spilled upon the 
ground. She evidently seemed to regard all my talk, as the 
representations of an insane person, whom she considered be- 
neath her notice or attention, except to hold me up, to scorn 
and ridicule. She plainlymade light of it. God grant that I 
may never be left to violate any of my obligations to any hu- 
man being, so as to give my testimony in favor of relations 
thus deserting their own kindred in the time of their greatest 
need. 



238 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

So far as my influence and example go, they shall find this 
testimony in favor of kindness, the most unremitted, to my 
afflicted kindred. I will do all I can to secure the same to 
afflicted humanity whereever found. Should my husband be- 
come a raving maniac even, I would not consent to his being 
put into a hospital so long as any kindred of his own could 
take care of him. A mother's authority, if necessary, should 
secure for him the personal attentions of his children in his 
behalf, so far as was necessary to aid my own personal efforts 
for his comfort and happiness. 

I would think of the reward which Mr. and Mrs. John 
Hardy, of Shelburne, Mass., have received for themselves, in 
taking care of their insane son, eighteen long years, so kind- 
ly, invariably, and unremittingly ; although they may, on 
entering upon their reward, exclaim, "we have only done our 
plain duty to our child." God, their Judge may reply, "I 
acknowledge it to be true, and on this ground you have proved 
your loyalty to my government, by obeying the parental laws of 
the nature I have given you, and not,likemy disloyal subjects, 
rejected its teachings, and left the unfortunate one to stranger 
hands." 

I should feel although weariness and painfulness, might at- 
tend the act, yet no selfish considerations should induce me 
to swerve from, or remit our attentions to his comfort and his 
wants. This sacred promise I now make, and record, that I 
and my children, will be true to this pledge So help us 
God! 



LV. 
Mrs. Emeline Bridgman or Nature's Laws Broken. 

This Mrs. Bridgman has been an inmate of this Asylum, 
for the last ten years ; has been one of the most unfortunate 
victims to the deteriorating, debasing influences of such insti- 
tutions, to the true aspiring nature which God has given 



MRS. BRIDGMAN. 239 

Her nature is a specimen of a superior order of female or- 
ganization, very tender sensitive feelings, exquisitely sus- 
ceptible to emotions of a spiritual nature, feeling an insult to 
her self-respect and native dignity to the most highly sensi- 
tive degree, -exhibited by a feeling of shame, mortification and 
self-distrust, which seemed so deeply stamped upon her soul as 
to render it impossible for her to rise above it. So long has 
she suffered the shame of being regarded insane, that she has 
become morbidly sensitive, and it seems now to have become 
morally impossible to overcome it. She has a superior intel- 
lect, conservative in its character, yet fully capable of ap- 
prehending clearly uew ideas, new views of truth, although 
instinctively averse to progress or change in her opinions. 

The orthodox system of theology, as the conservative di- 
vines of the last century taught, is her standard of truth, 
and all deviations from this standard, she is almost tempted 
to regard as a sacrilegious act. Her will is very persistent, 
almost inflexible ; her temper forgiving, her spirit trustful ; 
still, fearful and doubtful as to the future. All her hopes lie 
buried deep in the past. No ray of hope illumes her future 
in this life, and her hopes of the future rest upon a hope that 
she was made a subject of regeneration twenty or thirty 
years since. On her evidences then, that she had experienced 
a change of heart, she now rests her hope of final safety, be- 
lieving that when this instantaneous change of heart has 
been once experienced, there is no probability of a failure in 
receiving a heavenly inheritance. 

Her nervous system became deranged from a physical cause 
at the age of eighteen. She was then sent to the Worces- 
ter Hospital, Massachusetts, where she remained a short time 
under the treatment of Dr. "Woodward, the Superintendent. 
She soon recovered, and entered upon the practical duties of 
life with interest and satisfaction. She was happily married, 
and lived eight yrars with her husband, when she became a 
childless widow. Her life has since been like " the troubled 
sea which can not rest." Her nerves have become so chron- 
ically diseased, that they constantly disturb her mental 
repose. 



240 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE 

Her friends, at her own request, let her enter this Asylum, 
hoping the result might be as favorable as it formerly had 
been. But they were disappointed. Instead of receiving the 
kind, humane, Christian treatment here as she did at Worces- 
ter, she was treated most abusively and brutally., Her sen- 
sitive feelings thus received such a shock, followed by such a 
feeling of degradation and shame, that it has become impossi- 
ble for her to rally and recover her lost self-respect. As one 
specimen of the manner of treatment to which she was sub- 
jected, she told me that in taking her baths, they forced her 
to disregard, and tried to crush out every refined, virtuous, 
and elevated feeling of her nature, telling her, in most un- 
mistakable language, that they considered this eradication of 
modesty as the object and intent of their discipline and 
treatment. Of course, her godlike nature instinctively re- 
volted at- this heaven-defying sacrilege, this crushing of the 
divinity within her. This, added to the abuse which was 
inflicted upon her tender, sensitive frame, was too much for 
her powers of endurance. Her nervous system, her aspiring 
feelings, her noble nature, could never rally, so long as this 
abuse continued ; and it has continued for ten long successive 
years. Rather than to live in this agony, she sought death ; 
not that she made any attempts to commit suicide, but she 
often begged and prayed that they would kill her outright, 
rather than by this slow torturing process. No; so long a3 
she exhibited any natural feelings under this torture, she was 
subjected to the cruel rack. Her sound logic, her entreaties, 
her prayers, her just and holy resentment, each and all, only 
seemed alike an occasion for inflicting some new form of 
degradation. 

Mrs. Bridgman was scrupulously neat in her habits ; but 
regardless of this, she was forced into the water tub where 
several others had bathed, who were peculiarly filthy in their 
personal habits, so that the water was not only highly colored, 
but covered over the top with a thick scum of filth. Into 
this she was plunged, head and ears, to their heart's content, 
and held under tho water. Then, as her flesh was of an un- 



MRS. BRIDGMAK 241 

commonly fine texture, sensitive in the extreme, she must be 
scrubbed with a corn broom, which had been first dipped into 
a dish of soft soap, to lather her entirely over with from head 
to foot, and then washed off with the thick water already so 
soapy as to almost consume the skin. Here she was rubbed 
and scrubbed, as if her skin were a rhinoceros's, and then locked 
into her room, where the cold was so intense that her hair 
was often frozen to her pillow. 

I inquired why she did not report the attendant's conduct 
to the Superintendent. She said she did try to, but he would 
not credit her statements, since the attendants contradicted 
them, assuring him that they had not abused her. He 
regarded her truthful representations as the ravings of a dis- 
eased mind, and the attendants' conduct was tacitly approved, 
as judicious and correct. Thus she found that all she had 
accomplished by reporting them truthfully, was an approval 
of their practice from the Superintendent, and a secret 
grudge against her, which she would be sure to know of in 
her future aggravated and increased sorrows. 

And now, since she has been made to become a mere wreck 
of her former self, as to her personal habits, and her refined 
manners and fashionable appearance, having become necessa- 
rily almost indifferent to the opinion of others, as a result of 
her loss of self-esteem, her earthly prospects seem to be 
entirely blighted, even in the meridian of life; and all the 
natural result of the rule of this wicked Institution. That 
she did not become a maniac long ago, is one of the mys- 
teries of God's providence. Since I have known her she has 
not been insane. She has been one of my most esteemed 
associates as an intelligent and capable woman as compe- 
tent to attend to the practical duties of life as ever, could 
she only be induced to make the effort. But all her ambition 
and self-esteem being prostrated, by the abuse she has experi- 
enced, her case seems almost hopeless her usefulness for this 
world destroyed, except so far as her case may be employed 
as a warning, a living memorial of the barbarous influences of 
the Insane Asylums upon humanity, as they have been and 
L 



242 THE PRISONEE'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

still are conducted. If it had not been for these institutions, 
she might have been, ere this, a useful and happy woman ; 
and had she been cherished and cared for by her kindred, as 
their true hearts then prompted, instead of trusting her to 
the care of strangers, she might have recovered her health 
and spirits, and long have been a blessing to them and to the 
world. But alas ! this willing victim has been offered a liv- 
ing sacrifice to the Lunatic Asylum ! and under the specious 
pretence that her good might be secured I 

Several of her friends have died since she has been here, 
but she was not allowed to know anything of the event, -until 
she chanced to see the notice of their death in the papers ! 

0, can this entombing of kindred alive, be for their or our 
own good? Is it for our own good to cut off our afflicted 
friends, and so desert them, as to root out all traces of sym- 
pathy in them, or interest in their welfare ? Is it for their 
good to put them where the affectionate yearings of their 
fond hearts have no object to cling to, and no means allowed 
through which to exercise their emotions? Can a natural 
development of the faculties be secured by this most unnatural 
process ? No, no ; those who have survived this machinery 
are the exceptions ; those who are injured the almost universal 
rule. Mrs. Bridgman never was a fit subject, for the Asy- 
lum, since she never was an insane person, in that she has never 
been lost to reason. She is diseased in her nervous system, 
and instead of treating her as a criminal, she needs unusual 
forbearance and kindness, to inspire her with self-confidence 
and thus draw out her self-reliant feelings and efforts. All de- 
pressing, debasing influences, are deathlike in their influence 
over her already weakened powers of resistance. The only 
irregularity of conduct indicating a dethronement of reason, 
was a propensity to pick her clothes to pieces. This appear- 
ance of restless uneasiness, would seek vent from the ends 
of her fingers by nervous twitches upon something tangible, 
which effort seemed to be an almost instinctive act of self- 
defense from the overflowings of her pent up mental agonies. 
I could not blame her any more than I could blame a drown- 



MRS. BKIDGMAN. 243 

ing man for catching at a straw as a reliance of self-defense. 
Although the drowning man's act is in itself an unreasonable 
act of self dependence, yet we do not call it an insane act 
under his surrounding. So, although in reality, Mrs. Bridg- 
man's acts of self-relief are not reasonable in themselves, 
yet under the anguish of her mental throes, she should be ex- 
cused as innocent of an act really insane. If her sufferings 
cannot be assuaged by judicious kind care, she should be al- 
lowed great latitude in seeking any way of relief her instincts 
might prompt. She has been most wantonly and thoughtlessly 
punished, being innocent, so that she is almost raving, under 
this insult and abuse of her moral nature addded to her physi- 
cal sufferings. 0, how I have heardher entreat Dr. McFarland 
to let her out of this place ! his utter indifference to her cries 
only confirmed her in feeling, that this is a place of hopeless 
torment, from which she can never escape. Nor can it be 
right under any circnmstances, to keep a human being in such 
a state of involuntary suffering, or to add to this suffering, 
state personal imprisonment. She has been allowed to visit 
her friends several times, within the fen years, and remains 
with them a few weeks or months, but the memory of the 
Asylum so haunts her, that its fear and dread are inseparable 
from her existence. This Institution should place an insup- 
arable barrier to her entering it again ; her friends ought to 
adopt her anew into the affections of their hearts, and make 
her feel sure that they will never again forsake, but cherish 
and love her as they would wish to be, in exchange of cir- 
cumstances. But from Dr. Tenny's account I fear they cher- 
ish no such intention, but like other alienated perverted kin- 
dred, will feel justified in placing her here again ; thus rid- 
ding themselves of a burden upon their care and attention. 
Rid of a burden I What can be more humiliating to a proud 
noble nature than to feel that they are looked upon as burdens 
by their friends such as they are willing to resign knowingly 
in to a state of hopeless unmitigated sorrow. earth I earth I 
is there any spot in this great universe where human anguish 
is equal to what is experienced in Lunatic Asylums ! 



244 THE PKISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Are we not experiencing the sum of human wretchedness ? 
Can a woman's sufferings be greater than are Mrs. Bridgman's ? 
To me she is the very personification of anguish. O, my heart 
has so ached for her that I sometimes feel that I would lay 
down my natural life to relieve her. 

I did try to comfort her, by imparting genuine sympathy in 
deeds of kindness, and she would sometimes say that she found 
some comfort in my room, but none anywhere else. I have of- 
ten assured her that if ever I got a home where I could do as 
I please, 1 would like to adopt her into it most cheerfully as 
my sister, and she should find in me an unfailing friend. 

I have studied into the cause of her disease of the nervous 
system, and so far as I can judge, it was caused by her disre- 
garding the laws of her nature, as a woman, in working extra 
hard at the time she was unwell. She said she suffered so 
much pain at such times, that she sought relief by hard work, 
and this exertion being unnatural, only increased the evil she 
designed to remedy. Her temporary relief was purchased at 
the price of future sufferings. A chronic disease was the result, 
which has since manifested itself in untold mental agonies. 
If women would have resolution enough to be quiet at such 
times as nature and reason both dictate, they would be re- 
lieved of a vast amount of suffering, which is inseparably con- 
nected with thus trifling with this law of our nature. 

It is said that the Indian women who are so peculiarly ex- 
empt from female diseases, do invariably lie by one or two 
days at such times, and these are the only times that they lie 
in bed, by sickness in consequence of which, they are al- 
most as hardy as the men. To them, the curse of the fall 
seems almost annihilated. If civilized women would only 
learn this lesson from their uncivilized sisters, they might hope 
to enjoy the same immunity from suffering which they do. 

Since I feel conscientiously bound to regard all the laws of 
my being as God's laws, and now regarding this in that light, 
I cannot feel exempt from its obligation. Eighteen years of 
obedience to this law has demonstrated the fact in my case, 
that civilized women can by so doing be as exempted from 



THE GUILT OF FOLLY. 245 

suffering as their uncivilized sisters. 0, that civilized women 
would dare to be as healthy as Indian women are, by daring 
to be as natural in obeying this law of woman's nature ; then 
might we hope for progress, based on the plane of sound and 
vigorous constitutions in their offspring. 



LYI 
The Guilt of Folly. 

There are some crimes, the charging of which, falsely, is 
worse than the crimes themselves. So with my husband's 
false accusation of insanity in me, he commits a greater crime 
against me, than it would be in him to really become insane. 
The false accusation is a crime, whereas the thing charged is 
no crime. Neither is he guiltless in treating me as insane, 
when this delusion of his is only the result of misapprehen- 
sion, for he is to blame for getting into this deluded state. 
He has resisted known light, and a persistence in his folly 
has so blinded him that now he can not see correctly. At 
the same time, he is to blame, because he ought not to have 
got into this state. Like the drunkard, who unconsciously 
harms another, is guilty, for he ought not to have got into this 
unconscious state. The good of society requires that folly, 
as well as rascality, should be responsible for their own 
actions. 

Again, this state of folly can only be controlled by brute 
force or fear, since while in it, they are dead to all influences 
of a higher kind. And the just punishment of this folly is 
demanded as a warning to others to avoid such a state. These 
victims of folly must be held in check, by force, until con- 
sciousness so far returns as to lead them to see the wrong they 
have done; and this time has not come, until they feel sorry 
for their trespass upon others' rights. My husband must see 
that there is no hope of help for him, until he can see that 
he has ione wrong; then he will be in a suitable state to re- 



246 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ceive his pardon from me. Until that time comes, he can 
not appreciate forgiveness if it should be offered. It is my 
duty to hold him there until he does. 

Again, this accusation is a crime of great magnitude, be- 
cause there is no chance of a termination of my imprisonment 
while on this basis. Real insanity may possibly be cured, and 
thus hope lies for the insane in the future ; but the case of 
the falsely accused is hopeless for if unchanged, he is treat- 
ed as insane, and if he becomes insane, of course his case is 
hopeless. There are certainly some of the most reasonable 
persons in the world imprisoned here, apparently hopelessly, 
simply because some individual has chosen to represent them 
BO, and they justify themselves in this accusation, on the plea 
that they have a right to their opinions. So they have the 
same right to their opinion that a traitor has to justify himself, 
on the ground that it is his opinion that the government 
ought to be overthrown ! Traitors have a right to their 
opinions as traitors, and they also have a right to the penalty 
which the law attaches to such opinions when practically 
expressed. 

The defamer pleads that he has a right to destroy the 
character of one whom he regards as an errorist, since he 
claims these errors injure society, and therefore a benevolent 
regard to community demands the slander. Now we never 
have a right to do wrong, and no evil can be justified on the 
ground that good requires it. Goodness is never dependent 
upon sin for its maintenance or support. Right and justice 
are sometimes demanded by goodness, but never does it de- 
mand wrong or wickedness for its defense. It is the highest 
treason to our Heavenly Father's government, to try to 
destroy the moral influence of a member of his family, in 
order to promote their own selfish purposes. It is an attempt 
to overthrow God's government, in the individual, to repre- 
sent him as insane when he is not, for it is his accountability 
he is thus trying to destroy. 

That it is a crime to call a sane person an insane one, ap- 
pears too, in the mental torture this charge brings with it. 



THE GUILT OF FOLLY. 247 

It is very embarrassing to a sensitive person to be looked upon 
in all they say or do, as an insane person. The least mistake, 
a slip of the tongue, a look, a gesture, are all liable to be 
interpreted as insanity, and the least difference of opinion, 
however reasonable or plausible, is liable to share the same 
reproach. So that an advocate for any new truth, or any 
progressive science which must necessarily dethrone human 
dogmas, while under this charge, is under a paralyzing influ- 
ence. But let any other person who is not thus branded, 
advance the same ideas, they would be regarded as evidences 
of intelligence of a superior order. And although truth is 
not changed by the medium through which it passes, yet, as 
the world now is, in its undeveloped state, it more readily 
listens to a new truth coming through a medium of acknowl- 
edged sanity, than when it comes through one who has the 
diploma of insanity attached to his name. But still, the 
medium is not the truth, neither is the truth enhanced or di- 
minished by the medium who utters it. 

Again, it is a crime, because hundreds are kept here to 
whom an imprisonment is as much of an outrage as slavery 
is to the bondman. Because some insane persons are some- 
times dangerous, it is thought right to keep all who are called 
insane, prisoners ! Thus, the most sensible people on earth, 
are exposed to suffer a life-long imprisonment, from the folly 
of some undeveloped, misguided person. And the tendency 
of imprisonment itself, is sadly detrimental to a person who 
has intelligence enough to realize that he is held under lock 
and key. To persist in treating them as though they were 
unable to take care of themselves, is to undermine self- 
reliance and self-respect. In short, it tends to destroy all 
that which is noble and aspiring in humanity, more directly, 
and more surely, than any course the great enemy of the race 
has hitherto devised. To subject a human being to the 
legitimate influence of this Insane Asylum system, is like 
the Hindoos throwing their children into the Ganges, most of 
whom are drowned, of course, but the few who do escape are 
those who retain life with peculiar vigor and tenacity. Yes, 



248 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I am sure that any one who can go through here, and come 
out uuharmed, may well be considered as insanity proof. 
God's grace must work in them, to will and to do right in all 
things, or no security is granted them; and these few cases of 
successful resistance are like the pure gold, the hotter the 
fire, the purer it becomes. The Christian graces which are 
here called into exercise, are thus strengthened, purified, 
concentrated, intensified, so that the minor temptations and 
onsets of the powers of darkness are now looked upon as 
mere skirmishes, compared with the fierce, deadly battles of 
this Asylum life. 

Again, the guilt attending this folly is great when we con- 
template how very difficult it is to get out of this prison at 
all. I find this idea illustrated in my journal in the following 
manner. "I havo just been noticing the struggles of a fly, 
lying upon my window-sill. It vainly strives to regain its 
natural position, and every collateral influence only increases 
its fruitless struggles ; but when I placed my finger directly 
over so its feet could clasp it, immediately it assumed its upright 
position, by a perfectly natural motion. All its previous ef 
forts, unaided, were not only fruitless, but exhausting to its 
energies, so that when help came, it was weak from this exer- 
tion. So I have been long striving to deliver myself, unaided, 
but all in vain. But when my efforts have attracted the at- 
tention of some competent influence directed by a power from 
above, I shall experience all needed help to rise to the posi- 
tion God has designed me to fill. Now since my deliverance 
depends wholly upon the influence of a power above me, I 
must learn to trust it by faith, and like the fly, lie quietly 
prostrate, waiting patiently until help comes to my rescue." 

Again, the guilt attending the folly of imprisoning sane 
people, or those who have never forfeited their right to their 
personal liberty by their own insane or criminal actions, is seen 
in the expense it incurs to keep them at Jacksonville Insane 
Asylum. It gives the tax payers a just cause to complain 
of enormously unjust taxes, while it cost the State of Illinois 
one thousand dollars a year to keep each of their prisoners at 



MRS. WATTS. 249 

that Institution. If the statement made before the Senate 
in the winter of 1867, by Senator Ward of Chicago, who was 
appointed by that body to investigate the management of that 
Institution, is true viz : that as the Institution is now con- 
ducted, it cost Cook County, one thousand dollars a year, for 
each occupant from that County ; and he added " I will engage 
to take care of them at that price myself!" 

Now if the people would but exercise their own good com- 
mon sense in this matter, they would find that their own 
afflicted friends could be far better cared for in their own 
homes, than they are now cared for at this Institution, and 
that the expense attending it would be materially lessened, by 
a return to the simple principles, of natural humanity and com- 
mon sense in the treatment of this unfortunate class. Until 
this is the case, the guilt attending the folly of our present 
system, must be needlessly enhanced by the enormous taxes 
demanded in support of these institutions on their present 
corrupt basis. 

LYII. 
Mrs. Watts Driven off from her Sick Bed. 

Mrs. Watts was most peremptorily ordered off her bed 
while sick, by Miss Smith, and this distressed woman was com- 
pelled to stand leaning against her bed all day, suffering from 
severe pain. She had no chair or seat of any kind in her room, 
and was not allowed to sit upon her bed, so she must stand all 
day or lie upon the cold uncarpeted floor, so that her bed need 
not be tumbled, lest company might pass through and thus 
prevent as good a display of the house ! After listening to 
the quarrel from my room, I went to comfort her, and found 
her as I have described. I expressed my tenderest sympathy, 
telling her that if it was in my power I would do anything 
in the world to relieve her, but that I was just as helpless as 
herself. I kissed and left her, saying " I will do all I can for 
you." 

L2 



250 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I then took Miss Bailey, the other attendant, into my room 
and with tears in my eyes, I plead her case and appealed to 
her compassion to take her part, and let her lie upon her bed, 
saying " it is your right to act independently when you see 
the patients are wronged." She assented to all I said, but did 
nothing. I then went to Mrs. Watts, and offered her my bed, 
assuring her I would protect her while there. She positively 
declined doing this, saying " I guess I can bear it as the rest 
have to." I left her leaning against her bed, hoping some one 
would come in to whom I could appeal for her. But no one 
came. After dinner I found her sitting upon the cold floor. 
I then brought her my chair, and insisted that she should use 
it. This she was willing and glad to do. At night I took it 
back and told Miss Smith what I had done. She seemed im- 
pressed with a feeling of guilt and apologized for having done 
so. and gave me encouragement to hope she would not repeat 
the offense. 

The next day I made a most earnest appeal to Dr. Tenny 
in behalf of the sick in our ward, to which he responded by 
saying, " I do think they ought to be allowed to lie upon their 
beds when sick." 

" Then do use yonr influence at headquarters, for we can- 
not get a chance to tell our grievances to the Superintendent; 
he will no more listen to a patient's complaint, than he would 
defend them from abuse !" 



LVIII. 
Dangerous to be a Married Woman in Illinois! 

After seating himself in my room, Dr. McFarland, com- 
menced a conversation by asking this question, "Mrs. Pack- 
ard, would it not be natural for me, in order to ascertain what 
had been your conduct before coming here, to inquire, first of 
husband, then of parents, then of brothers and sisters, and on 
their testimony form some opinion of your state?" 



MARRIED WOMEN. 251 

" Yes, naturally you would ; but in my case, these relatives 
have not seen me for seven years, except brother Samuel, of 
Batavia. who has visited me only once during that time; and 
besides, opinions will not convict a criminal. Facts are need- 
ed as proof. A murderer is uot convicted on opinions, but on 
facts." 

"But insanity is not a crime, but a misfortune, and different 
kind of evidence is required to prove it. It is a disease, and as 
physicians detect disease by the irregularities of the physical 
organization, so they must judge of insanity by the views 
they take of things." 

" But, Doctor, is not the conduct the index of the mind, 
and if these views are not accompained with irregularities of 
conduct, ought these views alone to be treated as evidences of 
insanity ?" 

" Yes, a person may be insane without irregularities of 
conduct." 

" But have we any right to restrain the personal liberty of 
any one whose conduct shows no irregularities. For instance, 
should you like to be imprisoned in one of these wards on the 
simple opinion of some one that you had an insane idea in 
your head, while at the same time all your duties were being 
faithfully performed?" He made no reply. 

After a silence of a few moments, I added, "now if you, 
Doctor, or any other individual, will bring forward one act of 
my own, showing lack of reason in it, I will own you have a 
right to call me insane." 

After waiting a long time, he said, " was it not an insane 
act for you to fall down stairs, and then to be carried back to 
'your ward ?" 

" That was not my act in being carried back to my ward. It 
was your own act, and my falling down stairs, was an accident, 
caused too, by your ungentlemanly interference ; and tho 
object I had in view by asserting my rights, was a rational 
one, for I. had good reasons for doing so." 

"0, no, no, the reasons are nothing." 

" Yes they are ; for unless you know the reasons which in- 



252 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

fluence the actions of others, many acts would appear insane, 
that would not, if we knew the reasons which prompted the 
act. I asserted my right to my liberty from principle, not 
from impulse, in compliance with the advice of Gerrit Smith. 
viz : "when you have done all that forbearance, kindness and 
intelligence can do to right your wrongs, all that is left for 
you to do is, to ' assert your rights,' kindly, but firmly, and 
then leave the issue to God." 

After another pause he said, "what motive, Mrs. Packard, 
could I have for making you out insane, if I considered you 
were not? Would money prompt me to do it?" 

" No, Doctor, I don't think money has influenced your mind 
in my case ; but you have so long been in the habit of receiv- 
ing women on the simple verdict of the opinion of the hus- 
band, without proof, that you seem to think there is no neces- 
sity of using your own judgment at all in the case. And you 
do not seem to apprehend the glaring truth of the present day, 
that woman's most subtle foe is a tyrant husband. It is 
might, not right, that decides the destiny of the married 
woman. You know I am not by any means, the only one you 
have thus taken in here, to please a cruel husband. You 
have received many since I have been here, such as Mrs. 
"Wood, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Kenny, and many others. Indeed 
Doctor, this fact has become so notorious here, that our at- 
tendants echo the remark made by Elizabeth Bonner, the 
other day, viz : ' I did once think I would get married ; but 
since I have been here, and seen so many wives brought here 
by their husbands, when nothing ails them, that I am resolved 
never to venture to marry in Illinois ! I can take better care 
of myself, alone." 

" And Doctor, I agree with her in this conclusion. It is 
fatally dangerous to live in Illinois, under such laws, as thus 
expose the personal liberty of married women. This kind 
of married slavery is worse than negro slavery, and it must be 
abolished before the reign of righteousness prevails. Reso- 
lution is pacific, and I am resolved to secure peace on no prin- 
ciple but justice, freedom and right. With resolution, firm 



MB. WELLS. 253 

and determined, I am resolved to fight my way through all 
obstacles to victory to the emancipation of married woman! 
I assume that my personal identity is my God given right, and 
I claim that this right shall be recognized in the settlement of 
this great woman question. 

None to my knowledge sustain me in my path of self-deny- 
ing obedience to the cause of married woman's emancipation. 
Bnt when the victory is achieved, there will be no lack of 
voices to chant this triumph. If, while in the hottest of this 
battle, some of these plaudits could be heard, it would be a 
help far more needed and welcome than when we have laid off 
our armor. But he whom God guards is well guarded. It 
is the fate of many who seek to do good, to have to resist 
their friends, and face their foes. To be God's chosen instru- 
ment to raise woman to her proper position is a glorious office, 
and those who win this crown, must be willing to bear this 
cross. The public conscience is in motion, and the great mor- 
al force my enemies are struggling against is the gospel, en- 
forced by conscience. 

LIX. 

Interview with Mr. Wells, of Chicago A Tictim of 
Homesickness. 

At one of our dancing parties, I had the satisfaction of 
meeting Mr. Wells, of Chicago, whom I found upon acquain- 
tance, to be a man of pleasing address, of fine talents, and 
possessing a good share of learning and intelligence. While 
others were engaged in dancing, we would oftentimes be 
conversing on subjects of common interest respecting the 
management of the Asylum. There seemed to be a perfect 
coincidence in our views in relation to this subject, and we 
secretly agreed upon a plan of exposing it when we got out. 
But he became a victim of homesickness to the highest degree, 
which caused his death. This long pent up indignation 
would sometimes vent itself in vehement language. For ex- 



254 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ample, one night at our dance, I inquired if he had heard from 
his friends. He replied in a most vehement and impressive 
manner, "Friends ! I have no friends ! I will never have a 
friend again ! They have been the curse of my life ! Curse 
on all the friends I ever had ! " 

I told him I could respond to his sentiment, as could almost 
all others who have been put in here by their friends. It is 
indeed now true, that "a man's foes are they of his own 
household." And if any doubt it, I think if they were once 
put in here by their friends, they would then be compelled 
to believe it. I told him what a Miss Hall, a very smart 
young lady said, who had been here for a few weeks; " If my 
friends can put me into such a place as this, they can not care 
anything for me ; I am knocked about as if I were nothing 
but a dog. I am Miss Smith's mere slave or brute. It is 
enough to drive one's senses and intellect all away from them, 
to be treated as we are. Those who have established such 
institutions must be criminals ! What can they mean, to let 
that saucy, mean girl drive us about so ? And there is no 
escape, no appeal from her impudence!" 

"And, Mr. "Wells," I added, "have you not ascertained 
that this is one of the most prominent features of the ' treat- 
ment' we are sent here to receive? They must make us feel 
that we are utterly deserted, with no sort of appeal, to inspire 
in us a reverence for the despotic will which rules supreme 
here." 

"Despotic will ! There never was a greater despot lived, 
than now lives in that man," pointing to Dr. McFarland, who 
was now approaching us. "But we must separate the 
Doctor must not see us together." Saying this, he arose and 
walked to another part of the hall. After the Doctor left 
the hall, we resumed our conversation. " Mr. Wells, have 
you suffered from Dr. McFarland's tyranny, personally?" 

"Indeed I have; I could now show the deep ridges upon 
my limbs here," placing his hands upon his lower limbs, just 
above his knees, "marks of the rope with which I have been 
bound to the bed rack in the lowest ward ! " 



MR. WELLS. 255 

""What! you bound with ropes! what did they bind you 
for?" 

"Because I insisted upon having my little poodle dog in 
my room for my amusement, and his safety. I had just paid 
three dollars for it, intending to carry it as a present to my 
little son at Chicago. But being denied this solace, I con- 
trived to evade the command to take it from me; and finding 
it in the coal-bin, when I was out one day, I managed to get 
it back, unnoticed, to my room. But alas ! this happiness 
soon terminated ; for orders soon came from head quarters, 
that 'Mr. Wells be put into the lowest ward, and confined 
to the bed rack, as his penalty for this act of disobedience.' 
I made every appeal possible to Dr. McFarland, to induce 
him to mitigate my sentence; but all in vain. Said I, 'Doc- 
tor, you are a father, can you not sympathize with me in my 
desire to receive a welcome from my darling boy, and in 
return bestow upon him a gift which I know will delight him?' 
He made no reply, whatever, but turned away as if he heard 
not a word I said ! " 

"That is just as he has treated me, although physical 
abuse I have not suffered ; yet, what is worse, I feel his- iron 
grip upon my every inalienable right all, all are at his bid- 
ding, subject wholly to his will alone. Mr. Wells, this is a 
State Institution, can you tell me how such a despotism could 
have taken root on Illinois soil ? " 

" Mrs. Packard, the people of Illinois know nothing about 
this Institution, except through the Doctor's one-sided reports. 
He, himself, has run the Institution into a despotism, and now 
it is hard to convince a blinded public of it, as he has made 
them feel that he is almost infallible. He is of Scotch descent, 
and he has stamped the monarchical feeling of his nature up- 
on this nominally republican Institution." 

"But can it not be known? Can't we tell of it, when we 
get out?" 

"Yes, Mrs. Packard, I am determined upon that. I com- 
mand a printing press at Chicago, and I will print all you will 
write, and will write myself ; and this shall be the first great 



256 THE PEISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

work I shall do, after I get out of this place. I am determined 
in this matter. But don't let the Doctor know of this fact, 
for he never will let us out alive if we do." 

" But I have already told him of my determination, and 
that is what he is keeping me for." 

" 0, Mrs. Packard, you will never get out then ; but I will 
tell of your case when I get out, and help you, if I can." 

Here the party broke up, and taking his offered arm, he 
escorted me to the door of my room, where we parted forever, 
with these words; while bending over me, he whispered in my 
ear: "Mrs. Packard, my press shall be used for your benefit; 
but, Keep dark ! Keep dark!" 

In one week from this time Mr. Wells was a corpse. His 
desire to see or hear from his wife and children in Chicago, 
reached such a pitch of intensity, that nature could bear no 
more. His large, capacious brain became convulsed under 
the mental agony of too long suspense of hope of hearing 
from his wife too long deferred, and these fits continued, with 
but few very short lucid intervals, until he died. The day 
he died, Mary, the Doctor's youngest daughter, came to my 
room, and remarked, with tears in her eyes, "It is too bad ! 
it is too bad ! Father ought to have sent Mr. Wells' letter." 

" What do you mean, Mary?" 

"About one week ago Mr. Wells gave father a letter, to 
be mailed to his wife. In this letter he wrote how terribly 
homesick he was how he could not stand it much longer 
without hearing from her that if she disappointed him this 
time, it would kill him. He knew it would kill him. The 
hope of getting a reply to this letter would keep him up until 
there had been time to get a reply, and then ' if I don't get 
one, I shall die. I can't bear another disappointment and live 
through it.' He then asked his wife's forgiveness for all the 
hard things he had spoken or written about her putting him 
into such a place, saying, as his only excuse, 'You can not 
imagine how much I am suffering. But I can, and will, for- 
give all, if you will now take me out, or even write and tell 
me you will do so. But if you do not promptly respond to 



ASYLUM SABBATH. 257 

this letter, in some way, farewell forever ! It will be my last! 
I shall die of anguish !' Now," she added, "Mr. Wells is 
dead, and father has got that letter yet! " The very day he 
expected a reply, and got nothing, he went into convulsions, 
which continued until he died. 



LX. 
An Asylum Sabbath. 

It was my good fortune to find the Sabbath day here ob- 
served or kept in what I call a Christian manner. It was 
observed as a day of rest, as God's command requires. There 
were more tumbled beds, this day, than any other. The rule 
of other days, " keep them off their beds," was, in a measure, 
suspended on this day for rest. It was very seldom that com- 
pany entered the wards on this day, therefore this suspension 
of the rules for " display," was no detriment to the reputation 
of the house. I felt thaj, for myself, I could better meet the 
demands of my conscience under the influence of this house, 
than I ever could outside of its walls. As I had all my life 
been connected with a minister's family, I found, of course, 
little time for the rest the command enjoined upon me. Be- 
sides attending to the necessary labor attending eating and 
sleeping, as on other days, I was obliged not only to dress 
myself, but my children also, for church and Sunday school, 
and attend two or three public services, besides the Sunday 
school and teacher's meeting, perhaps, in addition; so that 
when my resting hour arrived, I would usually feel more the 
need of rest from weariness, than any other day of the week. 
Now, since I have allowed my common sense a little latitude 
in this direction, I am convinced I was then breaking the 
Sabbath, most egregiously, by pursuing this course. Instead 
of being rested as I ought to have been, in mind and body, 
by the Sabbath, I so used it as to unfit myself for the renewal 
of weekly toil with fresh vigor. 



258 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I now understand that God rested from his labor on the Sab- 
bath, and so should we. He has so constituted us, that more 
than six days of continued, unbroken labor, without extra 
rest, i? a detriment to our mental and physical faculties. To 
go to meeting too much, may be breaking the spirit of the 
command, as well as working too much. It is rest that we 
need, and it is rest we should feel bound to take on this day, 
as an act of obedience to a law of our nature. We should 
so spend the day as to find ourselves refreshed and invigorated 
for the active duties of our calling j otherwise we break the 
Sabbath. 



LXI. 
Letters to Dr. McFarland. 

INSANE ASYLUM, April 28, 1862. 

DR. McFABLAND ; It is time for me to know whether you 
are indeed my friend or enemy. My stand must be immova- 
bly taken to treat you as a friend, or just as your own actions 
reveal to me your true position. You must allow me to be 
my own keeper, by giving me a key or a pass, or you compel 
me to regard myself as a most wronged and injured woman, 
whose self-respect requires her to regard you as her subtle foe. 
Yes, Doctor, if after all the love and kindness, light and rea- 
son, forbearance and trust I have so implicity reposed in you, 
as a truthful, honest man, you now resist these combined in- 
fluences, and persist in your wrong doing, I must be true to 
you, and unvail your character to the world. 

If you attempt to sustain your character, by defaming mine, 
and by that act compel me to defend my own, by exposing 
yours, you must see that by so doing, you will work out your 
own destruction. 

Dr. McFarland, the simple story of my wrongs which I 
have received at your hands, since I entered this house, pub 



LETTERS TO DR. MCFARLAND. 259 

lished as they will be for the world's perusal, will arouse such 
indignation in community as will hurl you from your high posi- 
tion, to your proper place, and your family will be, through 
you, so stigmatized, that coming ages will hold your name in 
contempt. 

0, Dr. McFarland, I have hoped even against hope, that the 
adamant of your proud heart, would be permeated by the force 
of truth, so that you could be saved from ruin, instead of be- 
ing ruined to be saved. But if you will not do me the simple 
act of justice which it is in your power to do, I must do you the 
justice your neglect demands. Or as I told you in my Reproof 
if you will not be my deliverer, you must witness my deliver- 
ance in your destruction. 

Your true Friend, E. P. W. P. 

ANOTHER LETTER TO DE. MCFARLAND. 

July 12, 1862. 

My Professed Friend I am exceedingly sorrowful, and it 
may be unto death, unless some of my many sorrows are by 
some means alleviated. And 0, Dr. McFarland, strange as it 
may seem, my fond heart turns instinctively to you, as my 
helper! What a paradox of inconsistencies we are. Now 
my reason and judgment, and my most bitter experience as- 
sures me there is no hope for me in this quarter ; still, my 
heart will turn to man, as my protector, and there is no man 
left but you to turn to. 

You must do something, or the bow long strained to its ut- 
most tension will break. I cannot bear these accumulated 
burdens of life much longer. And 0, to save one who has 
been the truest friend you ever had, will you not grant me 
one request ? 0, dare I utter it only to be denied, or to re- 
ceive only a silent, heartless, indifferent response ? 

Dr. McFarland, will you not remove me forthwith to the 
County poor-house, where I understand the law allows you to 
put those whom you regard as worthless members of society 
hopelessly insane persons. 0, do let me speedily take the 
position your decision assigns me on earth, with Mr. Stickney, 
as a hopelessly insane pauper of this State for life ! 



260 THE PRISONER S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Do not longer compel me to be tortured by being eye and ear 
witness to abuses which my afflicted sisters here are constantly 
liable to receive at Miss Smith's hands. Miss Smith says 
herself that she is not fitted for her place that she is con- 
scious she is getting worse and worse every day still she says 
that you say you do not wish to part with her. 0, Doctor if 
it is to agonize me, that she is retained, your end is accom- 
plished. 

Another thing, my table fare cannot be more uncongenial 
to my feelings. To sit down to an oil cloth covered table, 
with nothing upon it to eat except what is distributed upon 
our plates, and if that is insufficient in quality or quantity, 
our only remedy lies in picking up what we can find of the 
leavings from off the plates of the filthy maniacs; since the 
food is all distributed before we sit down, except the bread, 
and to that we are not entitled until all fragments are dis- 
posed of. Since I eat no hog meat, I am often compelled to 
make my entire meal on bread and potatoes and salt, sometimes 
no butter. 

0, you cannot imagine, until placed in our circumstances, 
how delightfully refreshing was a taste of a pine apple which 
your kind Mary brought me yesterday, from your table, after 
searching in vain to find anything to satisfy myself from the 
leavings of the maniacs. And Sir, to one who has uniformly 
moved in the choicest and best society, and with feelings 
refined and cultivated, it is humiliating in the extreme, to be 
thus situated. And for what, am I thus cast out as evil, to 
spend the remainder of my life among those who are regarded 
as the filth and offscouring of humanity ?" 

0, well may this country be draped in mourning, while by 
its heaven defying laws, it upholds such iniquity ; such abuse 
of woman ! Do please, speak to me upon this subject if noth- 
ing more, for total indifference to my sufferings and wrongs is 
more intolerable to my nature than frank denial. 

Your friend in anguish of spirit. 

E. P. W. P. 

But this, like all other appeals, either spoken or written, 



ATTENDANT DISHCABGED. 261 

the Superintendent chose to take no notice of whatever, 
seemingly for the express purpose of torturing the feelings of 
his helpless prisoner, to the highest point of endurance. 0, 
the anguish of spirit that man has the psychological power of 
inflicting upon woman, no language can describe, For her 
sake, Great God, break his power speedily! 



LXIL 
My Attempt to get an Attendant Discharged. 

MY NOTE TO MY ATTENDANT. 

Miss SMIT-H : I advise you to resign your office as attend- 
ant, on the ground of your incompetency to fill the office 
as it should be filled, on account of your quick, overbearing 
temper. Your health is not good, and your nerves are in 
danger of becoming incurably diseased, by the strain upon 
them, which your present responsibilities demand. 

For your own good, I ask you to resign immediately, and in 
this way supersede a discharge on the ground of abusive treat- 
ment of the patients. 

Your true friend, E. P. W. P. 

MY NOTE TO DR. TENNY. 

DR. TENNY: It is wicked for you to keep so incompetent 
an attendant here, as Miss Smith, on account of her quick, 
overbearing temper. If you do not discharge her forthwith, 
I shall expose you to the world, for sustaining an attendant 
who treats the patients worse than brute beasts. 

Miss Hall came to my room yesterday, and said, " Can I 
not get away from the influence of that wicked, vile girl, who 
knocks us around as if we were dogs, and the men don't seem 
to be much better, for they don't care how we are treated 
when we are alone ; it is enough to drive all my senses out of 
me." Dr. Tenny, 'tis true, the patients are actually afraid 
of their lives, from Miss Smith's violent, insane temper. She 
certainly shows more devilment than any person in the hall. 



262 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Miss Bailey is prepared to endorse me, for she says she will 
not bear the blame of Miss Smith's abuses. She says it is 
wrong, and she will not bear the responsibility any longer. 

There is not one in this house, who knows Miss Smith, but 
what feels that she is wholly incompetent for her position, on 
account of her temper; and how dare you defy the public 
sentiment of this land, in countenancing such abusive treat- 
ment of the insane in this Institution ? I asurse you, you 
are running an awful risk in so doing. 

An act of indiscretion on her part, the night of the last 
dance alone, entitles her to a discharge, independent of her 
abuse of the patients. She locked Mr. Jones and Miss Bailey 
in our dining room, where they had gone to extinguish the 
gas, and left them there alone, in total darkness, and went 
off, leaving her key in the door. Miss Bailey felt much hurt; 
and she had good reason to feel that she had been insulted 
mistreated. It is a wanton exposure of her reputation ; 

and if the Doctor will discharge Miss M , and retain Miss 

Smith, he is certainly an unjust man, and is a respecter of 
persons in his judgment. Yours truly, E. P. "W. P. 

Miss Smith carried my note to her to Dr. McFarland, and he 
read it. She asked him if he wished her to leave, adding, "if 
you do, I will." She said he replied, that he did not wish her 
to leave. She added, she was tired of the wards, and would 
like to change her situation. He said she might have the 
first opening in the ironing room, in exchange for the wards. 
So this is all the good it does to try to influence Dr. McFar- 
land, by reasons based in truth. Appeals in the name of 
humanity seem to have lost all power over him. I have 
reason to believe that Mrs. Coe told him of all the cases of 
abuse mentioned in the document for the Independent, for she 
assured me she should tell him, if he could be made to listen. 
She said, he might turn away, and not hear it, as he often did; 
like the deaf adder, he would not hear. 

But if he would not hear the truth from her, he has received 
it from me, and knows Miss Smith is an abusive attendant. 
Still he keeps her. Miss Smith told me, yesterday, that the 



ATTENDANT DISCHARGED. 261 

Doctor had never reproved her for misusing the patients, nni 
ever tried to restrain her. No principle controls the Doctor' 
actions, except that of policy. 

I often think of what Mrs. Grere, one of the sufferers here, 
said: "If Dr. McFarland won't do right, can't he be made t& 
do right by some power?" 0, yes, Mrs. Grere, there is . 
power which can make him do right, and that is the power o' 
a just law. Let justice but unsheathe its flaming sword, an 
like all tyrants when they discover a power above them, hif 
proud heart, will be led to beg for that mercy which h 
now refuses to others. 

Miss M , to whom reference is made in the last sen 

tence of my note to Dr. Tenny, is a poor, dependent orphan 
an outcast from her Catholic friends, on account of her having 
enbraced Protestant views. She is about eighteen yean 
old, and has been made self-reliant at a very early age, by hei 
surroundings. Her strength and maturity of character ara 
thereby far in advance of her years. She has a genuine Irish 
heart, loving and affectionate in the extreme ; buoyant ana 
happy in her disposition, firm and uncompromising with injus 
tice and iniquity of every kind. She has filled, at different 
times, several offices here, as supervisor, attendant, and 
assistant matron. She was also Hattie McFarland's most 
intimate friend. She was invariably kind to the patients, 
from principle, as well as feeling. She was an attendant ot 
my ward at the time she was discharged, and I regarded her 
as one of the kindest and most sympathizing friends the 
patients ever had among those employed here. She was 
frolicsome and sportive, the welcome companion of all. She 
seemed to feel neither above nor beneath any one. She 
claimed the respect of all, on the ground of deserving it. 
Such was her character a perfect contrast to that of Mis? 
Smith. The latter is independent, as to friends, property, 
and influence; and still, the good Dr. McFarland would dis 
charge this kind, dependent orphan, and protect the 
wicked, independent Miss Smith, simply because he chose to 
do so, for reasons best known to himself. The indiscreet, 



264 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

thoughtless act which occasioned Miss M 's discharge, was 

going with Hattie McFarland into the gentlemen's ward, and 
walking over their newly made beds in the dormitory, and 
thus enraging the feelings of the attendant, Mr. Po, who 
prided himself exceedingly on his skill in bed making. He 
went, under the influence of his excited feelings, to the Doc- 
tor, and procured her discharge. 

She felt too indignant at this ungallant act, to make any 
apology to him for trampling his beds, therefore her discharge 
could not be repealed. 

If Dr. McFarland felt that the interests of his Institution 
demanded this sacrifice of the orphan's situation and means 
of support, he had a right so to do. This favoritism of the Doc- 
tor in judgment, appears to have hardened his moral sensi- 
bilities, so that, added to his other perpetrated wrongs, he 
seems to be approaching that state in which it is easy to 
"believe lies," rather than the truth " whose damnation is 
just," the Bible says. But since damnation does not mean 
eternal torment, but simply a terrible process of painful dis- 
cipline, for the good of the sufferer, I look beyond this aw- 
ful gulf to their prospective future, and see them restored, 
redeemed, purified, lost to all that is evil, alive to good only. 
There I see the triumph of the Cross. 

Can Christ, who gave his life to redeem the whole world, 
leave such a man as Dr. McFarland in endless torment, and 
still be true to his promises ? If Judas, whom Christ him- 
self called a " devil," is a member of the human family, and 
on this ground entitled to the benefits of redemption, why 
can not Dr. McFarland, or any other sinner, have as good a 
title ? But since, as a man, he has sinned, and thus pervert- 
ed, but not destroyed his nature, as such, he will be made to 
repent, and thus secure his lost image lost, or obscured by 
sin, temporarily. But occultation is not annihilation. Being 
under the power of evil for a time, and the manhood being 
entirely eclipsed thereby, does not extinguish the orb of hu- 
manity, which is eventually to shine with the effulgence of 
the Deity, for it is a part of the Godhead itself. In every 



SOMETHING NEW. 265 

human soul God multiplies himself. If the perversion of our 
being is to be the endless law of our nature-, in a single 
instance, then evil is omnipotent, and nature, or good, is its 
subject. But it is not so ; nature, or the God-given tenden- 
cies of our being are the only ineradicable influences in the 
universe. These perversions or irregularities, are but the 
temporary effects of an antagonistic force, whose principle is 
destined to ultimate destruction. 



LXIII. 
A new Attendant Installed Something New. 

Miss Adelaide Tryon,a young school girl of eighteen years, 
was introduced into our ward, to take Miss Smith's place. 
To all appearances, she is a girl of weak mind, and small 
abilities ; but time alone well test her, and develop whether 
she is fitted for the place or not. 

My first impressions of her are not good, still I intend to 
suspend judgment till a fair trial. My mind may be a little 
prejudiced, from my first interview. I went into the dining 
room, after breakfast as usual, to get my ice, when I met her 
at her duties. Since the ice had notcorne up, I waited a few 
minutes, and entered into a conversation with her. She an- 
swered me rather short and abruptly, evidently trying to im- 
press the idea upon my mind, that she regarded me as be- 
neath her notice, except as her under servant. 

She ordered me to hand her the knives and forks, for her to 
put around the table, which I did; after which she ordered 
me out of the dining room. I silently obeyed, and returned 
to my room to ponder over the peculiar trials to which an 
imprisonment among maniacs rendered our moral nature lia- 
ble. 

"While upon my knees praying for grace and patience to 
boar them with a Christian spirit, my devotions were suspend- 
ed by the entrance of Miss Hall. She came with a full heart 
M 



266 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

of grief and sorrow to pour out her complaints to me. Here 
God had sent me a remedy for my own sorrows ; I must bear 
her burdens, to lighten my own. Like many others here, 
Miss Hall is suffering for the sins of her friends towards her, 
and now in addition, she has to bear the sins of Dr. McFar- 
land's injustice towards her. 

After she left, Miss Tryon came to my room and attempted 
to bolt in, very uncermoniously. I arose and opened the 
door and introduced her in, when she, in a very abrupt man- 
ner, remarked, " I came in to see what you were doing; what 
have you in your hand ? Are you fond of reading?" etc. 

After answering her civilly, I tried to converse with her in 
an intelligent, ladylike manner ; to which she seemed heed- 
lessly indifferent, evidently seeming to regard what I said, as 
idle talk, beneath her notice. Here, this little school girl 
feels at liberty to lord it over me as much as she chooses, re- 
garding me and my society with contempt ! 

Mean as she seems, I wish to do her good as a sister. But 
in order to do so, I think I must tell her that I am not her 
servant that she is my servant, that I am a boarder here, 
and she a hired, servant to wait upon the boarders. If she at- 
tempts to rule over me, I shall regard it as an insult, such as 
I shall feel morally bound to resent. But by forbearance and 
patience, she may be led to see her faults for herself, and avoid 
them in future. I have told her that I was the means of get- 
ting her here, for it was through my influence that Miss Smith 
was finally discharged from the ironing room, since I reported 
her to the Doctor for her abuse of the patients. She said, 
"you won't report me, will you?" "I don't expect to have 
occasion to do so, for I trust you will be kind to them.' 

It is due Miss Tryon to add that she became a reasonable and 
kind attendant ; and so far as her subsequent treatment of me 
was concerned, I had no occasion to complain of her, and as 
providence appointed, I was delegated by her father to be her 
guardian 1 This was a new thing in Asylum life, to have an 
attendant put under the care of a patient ! The facts are 
these : Miss Tryon one day brought he^ 1 father to my room, 



MY PROTEST. 267 

and after introducing us, as I responded to her ladylike knock, 
by opening the door, she left -us, and I asked him into my 
room, when we soon found ourselves engaged in earnest and 
intelligent conversation. As he took his leave, he remarked, 
"Mrs. Packard, I see you are a sensible woman; now, may 
I not be allowed to place my daughter under your charge, 
since she is young and inexperienced, and needs the guardian- 
ship of some one like yourself." 

" Certainly Mr. Tryon, I not only thank you for the com- 
pliment, but I should be happy to accept the charge, and will 
promise you I will be to her a true friend." 

Apparently pleased and satisfied with my response, he took 
a respectful leave, and joined his daughter in her room, where 
he asked her about me, who I was, etc. 

To her reply that I was a patient, he expressed his aston- 
ishment by exclaiming. 

" Why, she is the most intelligent lady I ever saw ! There 
is not the least particle of insanity about her 1 There must 
be some mistake about that." 

" I think so too," she replied, "for she has been just as 
she is now, during the three weeks I have been here, and all 
in the house say she has been just the same, ever since she 
has been here." 

"There must be some mistake there is foul play somewhere 
I shall speak to Dr. McFarland about this, 1 ' replied her 
father. And he did speak ; and the result was, Miss Tryon, 
had express orders from Dr. MdFarland never to let her fa- 
ther into the ward again 1 



LXIY. 
My Protest Deprives me of no Privileges. 

Miss Tryon our new attendant has gone home on a visit of 
two days. I asked her to let me have her keys while she was 
absent, urging that Miss Tomlin did so when she went away, 



268 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

sometimes that the Doctor knew of it, as I had told him, and 
he had simply bowed assent. Still I told her not to grant 
my request without asking the Doctor's permission ; she, be- 
ing a new attendant, it would not be best for her to take. such 
a responsibility. She asked the Doctor and he refused his 
consent. Now the point is established in my mind that I 
sacrifice no privileges in keeping my promise to never return 
a voluntary prisoner to the ward. For he had before directed 
the attendants not to let me out of the wards, and he had him- 
self forbidden my going to the chapel any more after I had 
protested. Now his professing to wish me to enjoy the privi- 
leges of the house, are shown to be entirely hypocritical and 
false. He only wishes to break down my conscience by thus 
trying to induce me to break my word and lie. 

Did he feel willing I should enjoy the parole which his other 
prisoners do, he would give me a pass or a key as he does to 
Mrs. Page, a prisoner here, and some others. He only wishes 
to make the impression that my confinement is self-imposed, 
when in reality it is just as he wishes, and just as he would 
have it if I had not made my vow. I know, by his -artifice 
and sophistry, he can use it in a way to vindicate himself; 
when in .reality he would not have it otherwise, had I not 
entered my protest. He gravely tells me he wants I should 
enjoy the privileges of the house, and then when I desire it 
for two days only, he even denies me this limited day of grace. 
He knows I could not go out and return a prisoner, but by 
having a key I could and not break my vow, and now he won't 
grant this favor for even two days. If he denies me this 
privilege for two days, what reason have I to think I could 
have it all the time? None at all. He thinks his sagacity 
will take me captive on this point; but let us see if the saga- 
city of some other intelligence is not equal to his own here 
too. I have only to maintain a consistent, upright course, by 
simply doing right in all respects, and thus I shall in the end 
overcome his selfish policy in protecting himself in doing 
wrong. 

How I do long to see the issue of this long sad drama ! My 



FAVORITISM. 269 

faith has long since assured me what to expect, but visions 
only, will not entirely satisfy me. Dr. Tenny does all he can 
to help my spirits, by his respectful attention to my wants. 
I can go to him with my requests, and they are not met with 
a repulse. 

The moral barometer indicates a storm, but I fear it not, I 
am in no danger with my Pilot. Nor am I discouraged be- 
canse so many tempests betide me. The last will sometime 
have passed away. Then with my dear little ones, I shall 
find a safe harbor, where we shall find rest from fear of evil. 
My entire trust is in the skill of my faithful Pilot to guide my 
foundering bark o're this life's tempestuous sea. If I am 
wrecked, it will be because my Pilot's skill has for the first 
time been inadequate to the great emergency. Then I must 
be the first one to proclaim, " There is no safety in trusting to 
the God within human wisdom is superior to the divine 1" 
The end of this vision will speak for God, and not against 
him. 

I never will take the destiny of my own life, into my own 
hands by doing wrong, nor will I seek to escape present trouble 
by disregarding the monitions of my own conscience. I am 
fully determined to see where simple obedience to God's will, 
as indicated by my guide, will land me. The world shall 
know, by one faithful experiment, how trust in God is reward- 
ed. If my course leads to ruin, it is because we have no safe 
guide, within, upon which to rely. 



Dr. McFarland a Respecter of Persons. 
LXY. 

I showed Dr. McFarland the reply of Henry M. Parker, 
Esq., to the District Attorney of the United States Court, 
Boston, Mass., after he had relinquished the case against the 
Gordons, for treason. In this he had shown that it was dan- 
gerous business to arrest citizens for mere differences of 



270 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

opinions, and calling it treason, without proof from their own 
acts, that they were traitors. He said the people would not 
tolerate it, but would arraign and prosecute such for their 
acts; and not only so, but would make them liable to civil 
action for damages. 

I told him the same principles were involved in this case, 
as in my own ; that I had been charged with insanity with- 
out proof, and my persecutors were liable to be called to pay 
the damages due me for this unconstitutional act of abuse 
and outrage upon my constitutional rights as an American 
citizen. 

He treated the whole subject with utter contempt, as be- 
neath his notice, simply because the sentiments expressed 
were those of a lawyer, rather than those of a judge! I told 
him the principle was the same, whoever uttered it. 

My nature compels me to hold all truth in respect, whoever 
is its medium. It is not the medium which gives character 
or importance to truth, but the evidence it carries within 
itself, that it is truth, whose author is God himself. I feel 
as much bound to respect the utterances of truth coming from 
an insane person, as from any other, even Dr. McFarland 
himself, or any other great man. What an index does this 
furnish of the Doctor's character 1 Is he not a man-pleaser 
rather than a God-pleaser? Does he not care more for 
the praise of men than for that of God? Is the approval of 
his own conscience of as great importance to him, as the 
favor of men? Of great men who can promote him to some 
post of honor? Would he not yield his conscientious scru- 
ples, if they impeded his temporal advancement? God only 
knows! But since "by their fruits we are to know them," I 
should infer from this expression of sentiment, that he was 
wanting in real integrity, in manly principle. Here I, who 
so much long to see some manhood on whom I can rely as an 
earthly protector, am left entirely to the tender mercies of 
such a false, perverted man. He seems to hold my temporal 
destiny entirely at his disposal. 

Shut out, as I am, from the world, and all communication 



KIDNAPPING THE SOUL. 271 

with it, except through the medium of this unprincipled man, 
who would not scruple to misrepresent to any degree, to pro- 
mote and accomplish his sinister purposes, how can I expect 
the real truth can ever be known ? 

Yesterday he gave additional instructions to guard our hall 
from the visits of strangers, doubtless fearing some secret 
communication through them to me, thus forming a link with 
the world. He evidently trusts to his sagacity in keeping 
me hidden, as his means of self-defense. Yes, Dr. McFar- 
land, all your sagacity is demanded, to defend yourself from 
trouble on my account. You have already allowed this 
house to be employed as an Inquisition too long, to satisfy the 
tax payers that you are a proper man for your position. 
These tax payers have a right to demand of you how their 
money has been expended. When the truth is known, that 
you have employed it in perverting it from its appropriate 
use benefiting the insane and have employed it in perse- 
cuting some of the best of American citizens, they will 
iudignantly demand satisfaction. 

When I think of my present situation how utterly help- 
less, hopeless, defenseless, and wretched it is, so far as natural 
appearances indicate, and then contrast it with your prospects 
for the future, I am led to feel it is not the worst possible 
after all. My hopes are all in the future ; yours are buried 
in the past. My worst fears have been realized: yours are 
to come. I am suffering from falsehood and slander ; you are 
to suffer from the truth. I have the promises, for my support; 
you, the threatenings to dread ! 



LXVL 
Kidnapping the Soul. 

Another remark Dr. McFarland made, which found no 
response in my nature, except a feeling of scorn and indigna- 
tion I told him what I had done here as evidence of my 
possessing practical talents, by which I was fully capacitated 



272 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

to take care of myself and others. His reply was, "There 
is a lady in the lowest ward who can do all these things ! " 

What is this argument ? Is it not because one whom we 
consider unquestionably insane can do these things, that it 
is no proof of your rationality, to be able to do them ? 

I replied, "Perhaps there is; but can she show by her 
writing, which is a correct index of the state of the mind, 
that she is intellectually sound; and does her conversation 
and conduct show her to be morally sound, with no irregular- 
ities in any department of character ?" 

I believe I know several cases there, who are not insane at 
all ; but, by calling them so, and keeping them there, leads 
them to regard themselves as hopeless cases, just as he is try- 
ing to do by me. I believe he lias deprived hundreds of their 
earthly existence, as accountable beings ; and he, as yet, has 
in no instance, been called to account for it. 0. it is high 
time that this thing be looked into, and restitution be made. 
I could have replied, that "Hurd, a very crazy old man, 
could rake hay better than he could, and therefore he was an 
insane man on the same plane as Mr. Hurd." 

Is not the slander of insanity the most cruel kind of defa- 
mation that can be instigated against another? From what 
right does it not exclude us, except that of eating and sleep- 
ing like animals? Nothing more or less. And can this 
highest of all wrongs and insults to a human being, be looked 
upon with any degree of allowance, by him who bestowed 
these moral natures upon man ? the very godhead thus 
crushed out of a human being, and he be made to believe that 
he is only a brute beast, with no claims upon his fellow crea- 
tures, higher than theirs to put a high toned, sensitive, 
developed human soul upon this level, by base design, for base 
purposes, by the basest of malicious lies ! Is it not a sin of 
the deepest die ? Can there be any greater blasphemy 
against God, or against the Holy Ghost? I know, by tasting 
this cup to its bitterest dregs, what it is to feel this deepest 
wrong this kidnapping of the soul depriving a human be- 
ing of his God bestowed accountability. To kidnap a human 



KIDNAPPING THE SOUL. 2 / 8 

being, and treat him as a slave, is a terrible outrage upon 
human nature ; but this is not to be compared with the still 
blacker crime of kidnapping their accountability, and making 
them nothing but brutes. Slaves are allowed to exert their 
abilities to work, and thus feel that somebody is benefitted 
by them ; but the insane are considered below them. They 
are not allowed to feel that they are capable of being of any 
manner of service to the world, but degraded as useless bur- 
dens, which others must carry through life as paupers, 
whose only satisfaction to themselves and others, is the fact 
that they can die, and thus rid the world of a useless animal ! 

A tender, sensitive girl, who feels this degradation very 
severely, came to my room this morning and said, "I had 
rather be taken out and shot, than to be looked upon as an 
insane person and treated as one.' 

So had I, and so would hundreds of others here, could they 
have their choice. death, death is sweet to such a life as 
this ; and did not conscience interpose a barrier, suicides 
would be of daily occurrence I A. feeling of relief comes 
over me, when I hear of such an occurrence, at the thought 
that one soul more is liberated from tho Asylum. And 0, 
when one has been thus degraded here, to come back again ! 
Can anything be more dreadful ! The return of a fugitive 
to slavery is sad; but sadder far, to sustain a second imprison- 
ment as an insane person ! An imprisonment as a criminal, 
does not begin to compare with it in cruelty a criminal is 
regarded as a moral being. He is not locked up to be de- 
prived of the godhead within him. His capacity to become 
a wicked, guilty person is allowed him ; and this capacity, 
even with guilt attending it, is less to be dreaded, than a 
feeling of annihilation, an extinction of human capacities and 
being. 

This is the "treatment" for which Dr. McFarland endeavors 
to awaken gratitude in me, for having been permitted to 
enjoy here freely so long 1 But I can not manifest my grati- 
tude for this great privilege, by thanking him for thus making 
me the recipient of so much misery. Since he has recom- 
2M 



274 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

mended my case to the Trustees, he has regarded the 
responsibility as resting entirely upon them. Could I ho 
guiltless in God's sight, and allow another to suffer what I 
have, for fear of any consequences attending myself? I 
could never meet my Judge, unless I had given a truthful 
representation of this Institution! A few may have left here 
without realizing the nature and tendency of the Asylum 
System. Either they were too insane to detect and judge 
correctly of it, or too unsympathizing to feel for others. 
Others there were, who saw and fully appreciated these 
things, but who were so overjoyed at their deliverance, that 
they seemed to forget their former impressions. Others, re- 
membering them with most vivid distinctness, were heard to 
avow their resolution, never to speak of these things, outside 
the Institution, lest it revive these impressions. They looked 
upon them as a kind of horrid nightmare, which they wished 
to banish, as soon as possible, from their recollection. 



LXYII. 
Orthodox Heaven and Hell. 

If this is not the Presbyterian heaven and hell combined, 
so long preached by Mr. Packard, I do not know what is! 
Endless torment, inflicted by a heartless despot, from whom 
it was impossible to escape, and whom it is as impossible to 
move to pity or compassionate his helpless victims, is but the 
symbol of this Pandemonium. If hope once reaches here, it 
is in despite of him and his power and influence. 

This is also their heaven; since we here have hard "seats"' to 
sit upon, and nothing to do or amuse, except to sit and sing, 
in presence of the writhing of lost spirits ! Rest and sing ! 
What rest can a benevolent sympathizing nature experience, 
while he knows another soul is in torment ! 

There is no rest for active benevolence. So long as one soul 
is unredeemed from Satan's power, I must work for that soul's 



ORTHODOX THEOLOGY. 275 

deliverance, before I can sing "Worthy is the Lamb that wag 
slain to redeem mankind." The confident assurance that it 
will be redeemed, is the only ground upon which I can rely 
for peace and quiet in the meantime. Attractive as are the 
hard seats of heaven for " rest" to the idler to me they have no 
attraction. All my godlike powers thirst for action, and use. 
Inert, stupid indifference to others' interests, is, to my social 
sympathetic nature, a moral impossibility ; and I heartily pray 
God to deliver me from a mansion in such a heaven, in com- 
pany with such spirits! 

My experience of it here in this Asylum, has been enough 
for me. If this is the character of heaven, for which we have 
borne the discipline of our earth life, I say I wish my earth 
life never to terminate, for such a heaven of "rest" is hell to 
to me. 

Again, can hell be a worse institution than this, while it 
punishes the best citizens for the offenses of the worst ? There 
have been hundreds imprisoned in it whose only offense is be- 
ing true to the promptings of the spirit of God within them. 
They are more natural, more godlike than their cotempora- 
ries, and the laws are so insane in their application, that they 
punish the best citizens, for the offenses of the worst. The 
dictatorial dogmatist contrives with the sagacity which the 
"old serpent" imparts to him. to so misrepresent and vilify 
the honest self-sacrificing Christian, who is striving to live out 
the dictates of an enlightened conscience, that he is either 
compelled to compromise with iniquity, or, if steadfast for .the 
right, he is made to endure the false charge of insanity. 
Henceforth he must be regarded as an incompetent being, 
incapable of self-government, and thus subject to all the abuses 
and insults which can be heaped upon him. Like his Master, 
he is now called to pass through Gethsemane's garden alone, 
with none to listen to his sorrows, or alleviate his anguish, 
with wakeful, generous sympathy. Even his own familiar 
friend, in whom he trusted, his bosom companion , has lifted 
his heel against him, and now no one dares to comfort or de- 
fend him against this accuser. 



276 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Thus forsaken, deserted, desolate, he finds no refuge left 
him, except the tower of faith, whose dome of love shelters 
his lonely heart. If that tower is so strongly fortified as to 
prove invulnerable, he is safe. If not, he is left refugeless, 
with no home or shelter on earth or in heaven. He is now 
the ready prey for the roaring lion, who delights in his ruin. 
He then becomes insane, made so, by the indefatigable efforts 
of his friends, aided by the evil influences of this inquisition. 
His high and noble nature is driven to desperation by these 
combined forces, and his reason becomes lost in frenzied im- 
pulse ! Why, O, why, is it that such institutions were per- 
mitted to get a foothold upon the free soil of our republican- 
ism? Why cannot our natures, made in God's image here, be 
allowed free scope for a natural development ? Why cannot 
the intellectual and spiritual nature of man here have free scope 
to run to perfection ? Is it because the spiritual nature 
of man can only become perfected by opposition, by restraint, 
by overcoming obstacles ? Can its strength and power of self 
reliance be only thus acquired ? Oh if the blood of martyrs 
must be the seed of this Spiritual Church, as it has been of 
the Christian Church, cannot the long list of martyrs which 
this Institution has furnished, be sufficient for this age of 
spiritual development? or, must every stage of spiritual pro- 
gress be thus marked by the sable robes of martyrdom ? Is 
not the time at hand when man may be free to obey the im- 
pulses of his spiritual nature, without being called insane ? 
These holy influences I cannot, will not, resist, defenceless as 
I am. The inner law of my own mind shall never yield to 
human dictation, encouraged by the conviction that the end 
of this American Inquisition cannot be far distant. 

LXVIII. 
A Scene in the Fifth Ward A Good Omen. 

One afternoon, Miss Tryon came to me in quite an ex- 
v asted condition, exclaiming, " I am actually weak and 



A GOOD OMEN. 277 

faint from witnessing a scene of abuse in the lowest ward. 
Bridget Welch, Elizabeth Bonner's assistant, has been treat- 
ing one of her patients most barbarously. I never saw a 
human being so basely abused. Bridget, in her passion, 
seemed more like a fiend than a woman. If Dr. McFarland 
could have seen and known how she treated her patient, and 
approved of it, he must be a very different man from what I 
had supposed." 

I told her " the Doctor does know and approve of things 
most horrible here. I could prove that Elizabeth Bonner 
had said the Doctor once caught her, in one of her passions, 
abusing her defenseless victim, and gave her a smile of appro- 
bation, leaving her to expend her fury to her heart's content." 

She replied, that Bridget had told her that she and Eliz- 
abeth were fighting Miss Rollins, and the Doctor caught them 
at it, and simply passed on, exclaiming as he passed, " That 
is right; give it to her, unless she will give up." " But," she 
added, " it don't sound like Dr. McFarland." 

" No, it don't sound like him in his ostensible character, 
but. I fear it is like him in his real character ; he is a very 
deceitful man. He looks well after his ostensible character, 
and plans very adroitly, to delude, deceive, and pervert the 
truth, so as to shield himself publicly from the imputation of 
inhumanity. When he finds he has gone too far in encourag- 
ing abuse, and is in danger of exposure, he is careful to give 
the tide of feeling a new turn, by discharging the attendant 
for abuse, and thus reserve to himself the credit of being hu- 
mane to his patients. Thus he puts upon our merciful sex, 
the credit of the inhumanity of his acts, and claims to him- 
self the humanity. In reality, he instigates them to do what 
their nature revolts at, but what they feel compelled to do, 
to retain his approval; then he will add abuse to abuse by 
discharging them for doing as he wished them to do !" 

She said Bridget Conelly had refused to leave the dining 
room at the request of Bridget Welch, the attendant. In- 
stead of dealing gently with her, to induce her to go, they 
used authority over her, which did not increase her readiness 



278 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

to obey. Then commenced a terrible scene of battle; the 
attendant seized Bridget by the hair, when Miss Tryon came 
to the rescue. She endeavored to pacify both parties, by 
trying to induce Bridget Conelly to leave the hall. But 
her endeavors were not successful in making peace. By the 
help of another attendant, they undertook to secure the obe- 
dience of Bridget by brute force. Thus they succeeded in 
what they called "subduing her." Having done this, and 
even after the patient had yielded, they inflicted upon her a 
terrible beating. Then throwing her upon the floor, they 
kicked, pounded, and stamped upon her with both feet. 
They repeatedly knocked her head upon the floor with great 
violence, pulled up her head by the hair, pounding it with 
vehemence. It seemed as if this process must have beaten 
all the sense out of her, which was indeed the case. She be- 
came almost insensible before they finished. Exhausted and 
overcome with suffering, her strength now entirely failed. 
In this condition they dragged her, as if she were a dead car- 
cass, from the dining room, across the long hall, then locked 
her up, and left her alone to her fate. Miss Tryon said she 
seemed nearly dead. I said to Miss Tryon, "The Doctor 
ought to know it." 

" I do not like to tell him, being a stranger here; and I 
may get the ill will of the attendants. Dr. McFarland often 
instructs us to observe the by-laws, which say we must take 
the attendants 1 part, 'when called upon to do so. and I did not 
continue to do it when I found how she was misusing her." 

I felt that I could appreciate her feelings, and could not 
urge her to tell the Doctor; but 1 felt that a responsibility 
rested now upon me, and retired to my room to seek wisdom 
to know and do my duty with reference to it. While thus 
employed, Miss Tryon came to my door, and asked me to 
promise her that I would say nothing to the Doctor about it. 
I told her I would not make such a promise ; that I had the 
demands of my own conscience to meet, and I should do what 
seemed my duty. I added, however, "You have nothing to 
fear, Miss Tryon, from what I do ; it will not harm you, for 



A GOOD OMEN. Ii79 

you are deserving great praise for what you have done. The 
stand you have taken, has shown you to be true to your na- 
ture to the dictates of humanity ; such a position can not 
harm you. It will exalt you more than any course you can 
pursue. Don't fear to do right ; to be true to your kind 
instincts, for this is the only true road to preferment." 

I again asked for light to know my duty, and concluded to 
report to the Doctor myself. I accordingly did so, when Dr. 
Tenny came to my room. I have found by observation, that 
Dr. Tenny possesses a heart. He has not permitted the 
generous, tender sympathies of his heart to ossify as Dr. 
McFarland has done, by turning a deaf ear to the claims upon 
his sympathy, which his suffering patients demanded of him. 
We can go to Dr. Tenny, feeling that his ear is not deaf to 
tne dictates of reason and humanity. We find he has a 
heart to pity, and feel that he will do what, in reason, he can 
for us. The prompt, vigorous response he made to my ap- 
peal, shows him to be still alive, and not "dead in trespasses 
and sins." After patiently listening, and giving me opportu- 
nity to unburden my heart to him, by telling the particulars 
of the case, as Miss Tryon related them to me, he sought the 
Doctor's office with a quick step, and there related the affair 
as I had told him, accompanying it with such enthusiasm and 
indignation, that it seemed to arouse the intellect of Dr. 
McFarland. He saw that unless he did something, others 
would! He accordingly summoned Bridget and Miss Tryon 
to his presence, and the latter was called on to relate the 
story herself. She did so, and Bridget did not deny it. The 
Doctor then summoned Bridget to his office, and gave her a 
discharge. 

Well done, for Dr. McFarland ! You shall have all the 
credit due you for doing right, whatever influence compels 

you. 



280 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LXIX. 
Every Moral Act Influences the Moral Universe. 

(FROM MY JOURNAL OP 1862.) 

I congratulated Dr. McFarland upon his energy exhibited 
in grappling with evil here, in discharging Bridget so promptly. 
Said I " if you would but pursue this course with equal ener- 
gy, a little longer, you could soon -eradicate all the abuses 
which now exist here. Evil begins to hide its head in shame 
here now, and that is one step towards its extermination. If 
Lincoln would but grapple with the rebellion with equal en- 
ergy, and put slavery into the grave it has dug for the Repub- 
lic as he ought to, the government could be saved." 

He replied, "he ought to do so, but he is too good a man to 
do it." 

" Yes, I see he is afraid to do right, for fear of consequences, 
but this is not from an excess of goodness, but from a want 
of it. Goodness dares to do right, fearless of consequences. 
It is pusilanimity or weakness which fears the result of right 
doing." 

I think the most effectual aid we can give Lincoln to bring 
him to do right, is by doing right ourselves. Every energet- 
ic act in us adds potency to the moral element by which he is 
to be moved to action. Every act of a moral agent influen- 
ces the entire moral universe. Each upright act adds to the 
strength of goodness or righteousness, and every evil act, 
gives additional power to the principle of evil. It is like 
throwing a stone into a lake, the utmost bounds of which feels 
the influence of the ripple occasioned by its fall. As the 
ocean is made up of the drops, so the moral universe is com- 
posed of individual moral acts. Good and evil seem now to 
commingle in this great ocean life promiscuously, and the cur- 
rent of both seem now to alternate with almost equal force. 
What is needed is a condensation of the good influences of 
the universe into one vast gulf stream, sweeping irresistibly 
through the groat ocean of moral life, bearing down all obstacles 



DEATH PENALTY. 281 

which evil interpose to its progress. "When this gulf stream is 
once formed and set in motion, its progress will be irresistible 
throughout the moral universe. God is now at work separat- 
ing these elements, and the good is to accumulate and con- 
dense into one great engine of power for the world's benefit. 



LXX. 
The Death Penalty to be Annihilated. 

Some of the moral forces of the universe have already 
ripened into vigorous manhood, and through their combined in- 
fluence, evil is becoming timid, and seeks concealment, which 
is one step towards its annihilation. 

Like the concealing of the gallows from public ooservation 
into the prison yard, within the prison walls, indicating that 
the death penalty is to be destroyed, and it is now on its way 
to destruction this may be what is meant by death and hell 
being destroyed that the death penalty and punishment both 
are to be annihilated in that community where moral power 
has acquired its manhood strength, and can stand alone self- 
reliant, independent of penalties for its existence, just as a 
child naturally outgrows his educational influences, and with 
them, the penalties of disobedience, which in his infancy and 
childhood are necessary helps to his virtues. But when these 
have acquired manly strength, he no longer needs restraint 
and penalties, but can be trusted to take care of himself in- 
dependent of dictation or control from others. In his own 
heart he has the only monitor he needs for virtuous action, 
viz : the dictates of an enlightened conscience. 

Dr. McFarland says he does not believe in annihilating the 
death penalty for murder that he has not progressed so far as 
that for lie says, " Did not God command life to be taken for 
life ? Did he not command Agag to be hewn in pieces as his 
punishment ?" 



282 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I replied, " Yes, he did, but I do not therefore infer that 
we have a right so to do for He himself was the law-maker and 
the executive of the Jewish code. Of course every law was 
just and right, being wisely adapted to the infant state in which 
the race of men then existed." 

He inquired, " do you think the race is in any better 
condition now than it was then?" 

" I consider they are in a more developed state ; good and 
evil are both stronger and more vigorous, because their capa- 
cities have increased. In consequence of this growth or de- 
velopment, a different kind of training is required to adapt 
itself to man's higher nature. For example, you would not 
feel justified in using the same kind of discipline over your 
developed son of twenty-one years, as with your son of three 
or five years. To attempt to compel him with penalties and 
restraints as you do your child, would be trifling with his 
manhood, insulting his manly feelings, and would justly bring 
you and your authority into derision. So God having him- 
self controlled the race in its childhood, and as their father 
until they were of age, when they must require a different 
kind of training, he then abrogated the Jewish code, and in- 
stituted in its place, the Christian dispensation, of which 
Christ was the expounder. Now, instead of returning " an 
eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," we must return good 
for evil, and leave judgment and vengeance for our wrongs, to 
Him who judgeth righteous judgment. For he says "ven- 
geance is mine, T will repay." I do not think it is right for 
one sinner to punish another sinner. None but a righteous 
person is capable of inflicting a righteous punishment. God 
knowing this, instructs us to leave this matter entirely to him- 
self . He may raise up and qualify a class of capacitated judges 
from the human race, to whom this power of judgment maybe 
delegated. 

"But I think this will never be the case, so long as God's im- 
age in man is so defaced. This lost image of the godhead 
must be restored in man, before he can be fitted to be God's 
representative on the earth as judge of his fellow men. 



DEATH PENALTY. 283 

" I think the time is not far distant when righteousness shall 
be established on the earth ; when Christ-like men will rule 
supreme over fallen perverted humanity. Then the demon, 
Penalty, will give place to the law of love and kindness, by 
means of which the trangressor will be reformed and restored 
to virtue, instead of being crushed down and debased by pen- 
alties as he now is. His god-like nature is now trampled in 
the dust, and no efforts to rise are encouraged, but rather 
smothered by attempts to degrade him to the level of a beast. 
Punishments of a corporeal kind, are only adapted to man as 
an animal, in the earlier stages of his existence ; their influ- 
ences can never be salutary after he has become a reasonable 
and accountable moral agent. He then sins through his rea- 
son and his intelligence, and he must be punished through his 
moral faculties as God has ordained. Shame and contrition, 
must be awakened through the influence of respectful kind- 
ness, to the wrong doer ; not by trying to degrade the noble 
faculties of his nature, to a state of insensibility to moral 
influences by punishments. 

"The more man becomes developed as a reasonable being, the 
more sensitive he becomes to those penal enactments whose 
legitimate tendencies are to obstruct, limit and destroy the 
natural aspirations of a moral agent. The age of penalties, 
seems now to have culminated in this horrible civil war, where- 
in the developed reason of man, is fiendishly employed in in- 
venting means of destroying one another in the most barbar- 
ous manner. This crisis once passed, I believe the reign of 
peace will be inaugurated, wherein virtue will be protected, 
and cultivated by the influence of love and kindness, entirely 
independent of penalties and restraints." 

Now I claim, that these principles of punishment are appli- 
cable to these Asylum Systems, and also of reforming Dr. 
McFarland, and other great sinners. 



284 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LXXL 
I was Punished for Telling the Truth. 

The power of truth is irresistible, and disturbs this hidden 
nest of iniquity. I make no side thrusts through fear of the 
powers that be, knowing that they are wicked powers that 
cannot harm me, because held in check by the Highest. And 
so long as I do not prove traitor to this highest power, I can 
claim protection under it. But the first compromise with 
these hidden powers of evil cuts me off from all claims to the 
protection of the higher constitution. 

They try to make themselves believe that it is slander 
which I utter when attacking the evils of this house ; still 
they know them to be sad truths, which they would vainly 
deny, and reproach me, the medium, as insane, hoping thus to 
render my testimony nugatory. Did they see I attacked only 
fancied evils, they would not be thus disturbed by my tes- 
timony. But since they know it is real tangible truth, 
which I speak, therefore their consciences accuse them, and 
in despair they are driven to seek this means of quieting them. 
Could they only make me act as they have made Mrs. Farn- 
side act, they would be relieved, of an intolerate burden. 
Then they could tell of my own actions in support of their 
theory of my insanity, without telling in connection with them 
the great provocation which elicited such a mode of defensive 
action. Mrs. Farnside was subjected to an ordeal which she 
could not sustain. She fell into a passion before this tempta- 
tion, and under the influence of this temper, she lost her digni- 
fied self possession. She descended from the plane of lady-like 
resentment, to their own low plane of brutality, and acted 
tlien like her tormentors. 

Thus she put herself in their power, so that they can now 
say of her that " they were afraid of her," just as she had 
had reason to say of them, that "she was afraid of them;" 
and for this very reason she had to defend herself from them. 
Although there is precisely the same reason for fear, in both 



TRUTH'S PENALTY. 285 

cases, yet, Mrs. Farnside bearing the brand of insanity, has 
to be represented as dangerous on account of her insanity, 
while their own insanity, although more marked, is entirely 
left out. So it is in this hidden den of iniquity, the innocent 
do suffer for the guilty actions of their keepers. 

Seeing at a glance the artful workings of this hidden mode 
of treatment, I determined to face the enemy in open opposi- 
tion to the powers that be, resisting all the consequences to 
myself or others ; therefore I became a staunch advocate and 
defender of truth and justice, being extremely careful how 
ever to be just to myself, while I was trying to be just to 
others. That is, I was careful not to put myself in their pow- 
er, by coming on to their plane at all. From this higher plat- 
form of principle, I could look down upon them on their lower 
plane of passion, policy, "deception and brutality, and, from 
this standpoint, I could command the moral courage to be their 
reprover, and their reporter to the world. They envied my 
position and determined to take my fort by strategy, since 
open attacks had proved so unsuccessful. Their chagrin 
at their hitherto signal defeats had become exceedingly embar- 
rassing, and as their machinery had hitherto proved success- 
ful in almost every other instance, they were very loth to aban- 
don the siege. It was for this reason I was kept so long, 
and made to feel the force of all the combined powers of this 
dark house of" darkest deeds, before they would abandon the 
siege against tnis impregnable, invincible fortress of calm 
self -composure. They feared me, not because I would fight 
them as Mrs. Farnside- did, but they feared me because I 
would not fight at all. It was for this reason Dr McFarland 
wrote to my friends, in the heat of these battles, " Mrs. Pack- 
ard has become a dangerous patient, it will not be safe to have 
her in any private family!" And Mr. David Field, of Gran- 
ville, Illinois, wrote in reply to this information, and very res- 
pectfully inquired what evidence I had given in my own actions 
of being a "dangerous patient;" when he insolently replied, "I 
do not deem it my duty to answer impertintent questions 1" 

He knew that it would be " dangerous" to have me in any 



286 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

private family long, for then they would find out what he had, 
that I was an uncompromising defender of truth and justice, 
and such weapons he feared, and might well call them ' l dan- 
gerous" to his interests in the hands of a free woman ! He 
knew too well, that no bribes, no threats, no punishments 
could throw me off from the track I had chosen to pass my 
earth life upon. And since I had baffled his skill and gigan- 
tic powers in this attempt, he was sure the only safe place 
for such a woman, was behind the dead-locks of an Insane 
Asylum ! 

Mrs. Chapman told me one night at the dance, that she had 
inquired of Mrs. McFarland why they did treat me so abusive- 
ly, so unreasonably, so persistently evil; to which she replied 
<l it is because she slanders the house." 

I replied, " there is nothing so cutting as the truth ; they 
have become convinced that I am a fearless truth teller ; 
therefore they fear me. She- is at liberty to prove my repre- 
sentations slanderous and false, if she can, but she is not at 
liberty to defame my character to disprove them." 

She then added, " I have also consulted Dr. Tenny about 
your case. I said to him, how can you treat Mrs. Packard as 
you do? it would drive me distracted and dethrone my reason 
entirely, to be put through such a process ; and then to persist, 
so long, in so abusing an innoceut and injured woman, is be- 
yond all precedent ; how can you do so?" 

"I am only a subordinate, I cannot help it," was his 
reply. 

I then told her, " Mrs. McFarland has been an angel of con- 
solation to me ; when I was so exceedingly sorrowful, before 
Miss Smith's discharge, she actually shed tears of pity for me, 
and did try to raise my dyiug hopes, by assuring me, I might 
hope her husband would send me home before long." 

" Yes, she can talk sympathy, but why don't she do some- 
thing for you ? Talking sympathy is not what you want ; 
you want to be treated as your character deserves to be 
treated." 

" Mrs. McFarland did say she could not help my being placed 



TRUTH'S PENALTY. 287 

amongst the maniacs, to be subject to their injurious treat- 
ment, but she said she would send me something occasionally 
from their own table. And she has done so. Once she brought 
me herself under her apron or in her pocket, a tumbler of jelly 
and a teaspoon to eat it with. And another time I had a 
quantity of loaf-sugar and lemons and a pitcher of ice water 
sent into my room from their kitchen. She also consented to 
Mrs. Coe's (the cook) bringing me good things from their 
kitchen, or anything else she chose to bring, for my comfort. 
And Mrs. Coe has availed herself of this right, and brought 
me apples in abundance, and raisins, and oranges, and prunes 
some of which she bought with her own money. She brings 
me strawberries and sugar, and cherries and melons, which 
Mr. Jones the Superintendent of the Asylum farm sends me, by 
permission from Mrs. McFarland, so that through her influ- 
ence, I have my sorrows lessened perhaps as much as it is 
possible for her to do, under the circumstances. Indeed, since 
Mrs. Coe has been our cook, and this license given her, I have 
hardly been a day without some extra luxury in my room for 
my health and comfort, such as fruits, cakes, and confection- 
eries. Now I think this is " doing something." 

" Yes, it is a comfort to be thus cared for in your now for- 
lorn condition, but that is not restoring you to your family and 
society, as you ought to be." 

" No it is not, but the hope of being so, is next to the frui- 
tion, and Mrs. McFarland held this hope before me as a solace 
by saying, " 1 can assure you the Doctor will never consent 
to take you into this Institution again ; you may settle your 
mind upon that point, and I think the Doctor did very wrong 
to listen to Mr. Packard so much ; and he^ught to have sent 
you home long ago !" and such like rays of hope. But I 
sometimes think, Mrs. Chapman, that I have felt more impa 
tient since she inspired this hope than before. I have been 
like the soldier so long trying to keep down an inordinate de- 
sire to see my children once more, a free woman, that the 
least probability of the closing of the campaign almost fills 
me with ecstacy, and each blighting of a hope of this kind 



288 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

seems harder and harder to be borne. Another thing I have 
found, Mrs. Chapman, to be indispensible to my support, is to 
keep myself constantly employed, that my mind do not prey up- 
on itself. My heart is so keenly alive to emotions and impres- 
sions, that a track is necessary for me to move upon, or it 
might become morbidly sensitive if left to itself. I therefore 
conscientiously employ each hour according to a set plan for 
systematic employment. And in this too, I am aided by Mrs. 
McFarland, for she lets me buy cotton knitting yarn, by the 
pound, and as much muslin as I want to embroider bands and 
trimmings of any style I choose. And I am accumulating 
an immense amount of embroidery for my own and my daugh- 
ter's under-clothes, expecting, as you see, to live in the world 
a long time yet to need it I" 

" Yes, the bow of hope is always to be seen in your hori- 
zon." 

"Is it not well to have it so? 1 ' 

" Yes if you can but were I in your situation I think I 
should give up in despair." 

"What would that accomplish?" 

" Nothing, but to let them see the wreck they had 
caused !" 

However her argument failed to dispirit me. Indeed I felt 
stronger for her sympathy, and determined to let matters 
take their natural course, believing that the dark riddle 
would be sometime made plain to my comprehension. I was 
now suffering what I was put in to receive a "dressing down" 
for daring to speak the truth respecting the church dogmas ; 
and now I must not turn back, but face this new enemy I 
have called into the field, by boldness of speech here and must 
endure my punishment for telling the truth about the Insane 
Asylum dogmas. Yes, I am being punished for telling the 
truth I And God grant I may never escape from this cala- 
boose of torture, by recanting the truth respecting creeds or 
Asylums ! 



WRONG ACTIONS. 289 

LXXIL 
Wrong Actions are Suicidal. 

I asked the Doctor if he would answer one Question, to 
determine whether I was a " discerner of spirits," or not, viz: 
"Has there not recently sprung up in your heart a desire 
that justice should be done me?" 

" Yes, you are correct in discerning that spirit in me ; but 
as to the time you are not." 

"If I have been mistaken there, I should be glad to know 
it; for if you have hitherto exerted a protective power, I 
have failed to perceive it. It is a mystery I can not solve." 

"It is no mystery; it is perfectly plain." 

" I don't see how you can protect me, and yet deny me the 
right of self-defense." 

" "What you call a defense, is really an assault." 

"No, Sir. I do not assault. I only try to defend myself 
against an assault upon my rights and character. Is the de- 
fense of the government an assault upon the South? No, it 
is defending itself against a villain who has assaulted to take 
its life. In defending my character, I am compelled to destroy 
Mr. Packard's, simply by exhibiting my own. And I have a 
right to my own character; and when it is assailed by slander, 
I have a right to live it down; and if his character can't stand 
before my sanity, he must fall not because I assaulted him, 
but because he assaulted my sanity. I have done nothing to 
destroy his character. He has done the whole work himself. 

"W- notions are suicidal in themselves." 



LXXIII. 
Mrs. Sybil Dole A Fallen Woman. 

Fast day. I do believe in the efficacy of prayer. Praying 
breath is not spent in vain. God has broken for me my 

N 



290 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

chains of married servitude, and now it is my chief business 
to get my prisoner's .bonds severed. I struggle, labor, and 
pray for this daily. But delays are not denials. Is defeat an 
indication of God's disapproval ? or is it a test of my fidelity 
and perseverance in surmounting obstacles in doing my duty? 
I believe I am sometimes tempted, by the suggestions of 
friends, as well as enemies. 0, God, do let me know when 
Satan sends me a message, as well as when he brings me one. 

I think the arch-deceiver oftentimes employs the husband 
as the bearer of his messages to his wife, by allowing him to 
destroy her identity. The wife yields to the husband the 
right of a despot, to rule her independently of her reason. 
Mr. Packard's sister, Sybil Dole, wife of Deacon Dole, of 
Manteno, is an example of this class of fallen women. She 
thinks it is her duty to do what her husband requires her to 
do, even if her own reason and conscience dictate to the con- 
trary. This is wronging ourselves of the right to be ruled 
by the Christ within us. It is forging our own chains, to 
confine us in the pit of destruction. When we have once 
broken our allegiance to Christ, by obeying man in preference 
to him, we have seceded from God's government, and must 
henceforth be regarded as traitors, by all holy intelligences. 
Every subsequent act enhances our guilt, so we at length be- 
come conscientiously wrong. At this point, no force but 
omnipotence can turn us. "Blindness hath then happened 
unto Israel." Mrs. Dole is now employed as Mr. Packard's 
coadjutor, in carrying out this dreadful conspiracy. 

Once at our house, I heard her give me this answer to my 
question, " How do you like the New Church doctrines ? " viz: 
"I can't tell whether they are true or not, for I dare not trust 
my reason to decide; I want Brother to judge for me. Al- 
though it may appear clear to me, yet there maybe sophistry 
which my mind can not detect." 

Her brother, in whose presence this remark was made, feel- 
ing complimented by it, replied, "It is difficult for an undis- 
ciplined mind to detect the fallacy of the reasoning." 

Here she trusts her brother's reason more than her own, 



MRS. DOLE. 291 

and thinks she is doing a praiseworthy act by so doing ! when 
in reality, she is taking the direct steps towards extinguishing 
her own reason entirely. And she has already become so 
insane as to be used as her brother's tool, in carrying out his 
plot against me and my children. Whatever he dictates, she 
feels no scruples in doing. If she allowed her own nature to 
control her actions, she, being a mother, could not encourage 
her brother in taking me from my darling babe and other 
precious ones, claiming that she had a better right to train 
my own flesh and blood than I had myself! No, no. Were 
she the true woman of nature God made her to be, she would 
sooner cut off her right hand than put such heavy burdens 
upon a sister as she has placed upon me to bear. But she 
has become so hardened and obdurate, in her long disloyalty 
to God's government, that instead of bestowing one word oi 
womanly pity upon me for being thus bereft of my darling 
children, she even boasts of the obligations she has placed me 
under to her for taking care of my own children for met 

No, Mrs. Dole, I do not thank you for taking care of my chil- 
dren; but I would rather thank you to let them alone, and let 
them receive the care of that mother whom God had placed 
over them for this very purpose. God, through our unperverted 
natures, requires us, to " weep with those who weep, and re- 
joice with those who rejoice ;" but perverted nature, like 
Mrs. Dole's, rejoices in the sorrows of her sister, and weeps 
over her successes. It is my prayer that her eyes may be 
opened in this life to see the great wrong she has done, in 
using her influence to break up our once happy family, by 
listening to her brother's misrepresentations, instead of the 
dictates of her own reason and conscience. That she did 
yield, is evident, from the fact that she wrote to my son at 
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, about the time of my abduction, that she 
had seen no evidence of insanity in his mother, but she must 
believe she was insane, because " Brother says she is!" 

Would she feel that I should be doing right, if I should en- 
courage her husband in taking her from her family as I was 
taken, simply on the representations of her angry husband, 



292 THE PRISONEK'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

even when my own observations demonstrated them to be 
false representations ? No, Mrs. Dole would feel that when 
such tender ties as bound her to her children, came to be thus 
sundered, she was under no obligation to me for first making 
her children motherless, and then bestowing upon them her 
care. For her, I can offer the prayer Christ did for his mur- 
derers, "Father, forgive her," believing Christ meant by this 
petition to ask his Father to bring his accusers to repentance, 
knowing that his Father himself could not forgive them un- 
less they did repent first. 

So, sister, repent 1 I can forgive you all, and so can our 
common Father, on this, his own condition. 

LXXIY. 
Can a Blind Person See? 

The Doctor and I have had another talk upon the fallacious 
evidence which opinions afford, of insanity, just as the color 
of the eyes is a fallacious evidence of blindness. Said I, 
" Supposing an application be made to the Blind Institution 
here, to admit a seeing person, reported to be blind, by her 
husband, and his testimony corroborated by forty* witnesses 
and two physicians. Now, supposing this Institution, estab- 
lished for the blind alone, should have become so perverted, 
as to admit any person, who had any disease of the eyes, or 
even a weakness of the optic nerve ; therefore this entirely 
sound person is admitted, on testimony, and the Superintend- 
ent confirms this testimony that she is blind. This accumu- 
lated amount of testimony does not satisfy the individual that 
she is blind, nor a party outside, who claim she is not blind. 
Now what is to be done ? The lady contends she can prove, 
from her own acts, that she can see, and the Superintendent, 
after closely watching her for two years, fails to find in her 
one act indicating any loss of sight. Must not the individual 

*Mr. Packard brought forty church members 1 names to support his testimony 
against me. 



CAN A BLIND PERSON SEE. 293 

herself be tested, in order to settle this controverted question? 
Supposing an impartial tribunal decide that the lady herself, 
has given them every evidence that can be given, that her 
sight is not in the least degree impaired what does this 
array of opinions that she is blind, now amount to, before the 
fact that she does see distinctly ? Now let this case be pub- 
lished, demonstrating the fact that the Superintendent of the 
Blind Institution insists upon it, that a lady is hopelessly 
blind, when she really can see clearly would the public feel 
confidence in their Superintendent's decisions afterwards? I 
think not ; but on the contrary, they would decide that the 
Superintendent must be blind himself, and therefore unfit for 
his office. But supposing he should admit that the lady can 
see, but she don't see riglvt ; for instance, she contends that 
the moon looks to her as large as a cart wheel, while he says 
it should look only as large as a saucer. Now the common 
people, or the public tribunal, more than ever, see their Su- 
perintendent's folly; for the very fact that it looks to her as 
large as a cart wheel, demonstrates that she is not blind, and 
that her organ of vision, too, is not peculiar, for there is just 
this difference in the size of the same object, as seen through 
different organizations. Now, Dr. McFarland, tell me, is 
reason, which is the eye of the soul, extinct, while the indi- 
vidual gives every evidence that it is in full and healthy 
exercise ? " 

He replied, " There is a certain kind of disease of the eye 
which can not be detected by common people ; it takes great 
learning and the highest kind of professional skill to detect it; 
and besides, this kind of optical disease is hopeless there is 
no cure for this kind of blindness." 

"You mean, Doctor, that when blindness is caused by this 
peculiar disease, it is regarded as a case of hopeless blindness?" 

"Yes, it is so." 

"You say it requires great skill to detect the cause of this 
kind of blindness. Does it require anything more_than simple 
common sense to detect "blindness itself?" 

The Doctor here took an abrupt leave of both me and my 
argument, without even answering my question. 



294 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LXXY. 

Human Instincts Above Human Enactments. 

There is no liberty where there is no law. Liberty is 
complete only where every man is efficiently protected in the 
exercise of his rights. The press is not free where nothing 
is printed which has not been examined beforehand by author- 
ity. Freedom without responsibility is an impossible thing. 
Every human right is limited just by that one principle of 
common sense, that no man has a right to do wrong. The 
freedom of the press is limited, just as the freedom of lucifer 
matches is limited. The freedom of the press is not a free- 
dom to commit any crime against the rights of individuals or 
against the commonwealth. 

God's laws are above all other laws, and therefore human 
instincts are above all human enactments. No matter what 
the penalty the more atrocious and cruel, the more certain 
are they to be disregarded. No human power can stand a 
law, in violation of our natural instincts. Every law made 
for peace, at the sacrifice of principle ought to be abrogated. 
Toleration is not freedom. The very word implies a power 
to restrain. 

Our present Insane Asylum System ignores these principles. 
It says, " God's laws are subject to human enactments." It 
tramples upon the highest and noblest instincts of our nature, 
and enthrones an autocrat to rule over them, instead of the 
rule of reason. The law of sympathy, which God has estab- 
lished in our natures, as one of its noblest elements, suffers 
strangulation under this Asylum System. 

Instead of developing this faculty in a normal manner, by 
caring for and administering to the unfortunate one, whom 
Providence has placed under our charge, for our own espe- 
cial discipline and development, we admit the human law of 
charitable institutions to usurp this holy instinct of human 
sympathy, and its aspirations die out for want of their natural 
nutriment to perfect the vigorous growth it naturally seeks 



HUMAN INSTINCTS. 295 

for in the human soul. Thus God's law, or our human in- 
stinct of sympathy, is supplanted by human enactments. 

No matter how large the compensation offered in lieu of 
this usurpation, nothing can compensate for the blemish our 
divine natures receive by this soul strangulating process. 
The orphan, for instance, who, in order to receive the benefits 
of the Orphan Asylum, is compelled first to sever the purest 
and holiest affection of his nature the love of his parent 
as his necessary passport to the benefits of the Institution. 
The price is too dear the equivalent received can not be 
commensurate to the loss sustained to secure it. But if, 
instead of depriving the orphan of a mother's love its God 
given heritage they should so disburse the charities of the 
Institution as to secure this influence to the child, as the first 
God given right of his nature; then these charities would act 
in concert and harmony with God's law, instead of conflicting 
with it, as the Orphan Asylums now are compelled to do by 
their present system. 

So in the case of the insane to sever them from the sym- 
pathy of their own kindred, is to deprive them of the first 
God given right of their nature ; and no adequate equivalent 
can be rendered as a compensation for this usurpation. But 
if the charities of our present Insane Asylum System could be 
appropriated so as to act in concert with this influence, then 
would this system bless both the giver and the receiver of 
natural affection and human sympathy. They would then be 
doing right by their unfortunates, and as the result of a law 
of our nature, they would consequently feel right towards 
them. Whereas our present system compels them to act wrong 
towards them, by severing them from home influences ; and 
they, of course, come to feel wrong towards them, as the inev- 
itable result. First comes a feeling of indifference, as the 
result of casting off a responsibility which God had laid upon 
them to bear ; then succeeds the feeling of alienation, as the 
heart gradually ossifies by this extinction of human sympa- 
thy, which a neglect of our practical duties to our natural 
responsibilities produces. 



296 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I never knew this legitimate tendency of our present sys- 
tem to lead to any different results, when practically applied. 
Therefore, in order to place the axe at the root of the evils 
of our Insane Asylum System, and other eleemosynary insti- 
tutions, there must be a recognition of this great fundamental 
truth, that human instincts are above human enactments. 



LXXVI. 
The Prisoner Who Called Himself "Jesus Christ P 

One evening at our dancing parties I was introduced to a 
fine looking young man, with whom I held a very agreeable 
and intelligent conversation, wherein I failed to detect any 
indications of loss of reason, or mental unsoundness. Know- 
ing that he was a new arrival, I, of course, looked for some 
mental aberration, as his passport to the privileges of our In- 
stitution. But having signally failed, after the most search- 
ing scrutiny, to detect the slightest title to this claim, I be- 
gan to fear here was another smuggled victim of some evil 
plot. The longer I conversed, the more confirmed was this 
suspicion. Determined to pursue my investigations on this 
point, I sought and found his attendant, and inquired what 
was the character of the insanity of this young man. 

He replied, " I am as ignorant as you are, Mrs. Packard, on 
that point. I have watched him with the closest scrutiny ever 
since he was entered, and have entirely failed to detect the 
first irregularity in any respect. Indeed he is the most kind, 
obliging and exemplary person I ever saw, and as for sympa- 
thy and tenderness towards the patients I never saw it sur- 
passed in any one." 

" I fear we have got another bogus candidate for the honors 
of this Institution ;" replied I, " for I am sure that so far as 
intelligence and reason are concerned, he is a most unfit person 
to receive the brand of insanity." 



"JESUS CHRIST." 297 

" That is my opinion of his case thus far," replied his at- 
tendant, "and yet I may be able to detect some peculiarity 
upon a longer acquaintance ; still from his appearance during 
the weeks he has been under my care, I should judge he was 
the last person who ought to be put under a k>ck and key." 

" I very much fear he is another of the many victims of 
unjust persecution, sent here by those who employ this Insti- 
tution to shield their own crimes, for there is evidently guilt 
somewhere, in entombing such a promising young man as he 
is. Won't you please ascertain if you can, what are the facts 
in the case, and tell me at our next party ? for I am making 
observations and seeking facts for a book on this subject. " 

At our next party I accordingly pursued these inquiries, and 
found that, although he had been on the most vigilant search 
for facts on which his imprisonment was predicated, he had 
found nothing that could afford any solution to his mind of 
this dark mystery. He more than confirmed his previous de- 
fense of his entire sanity, by adding, " he is the most forgiv- 
ing, kind, tender, sympathizing person I ever saw." 

" Yes, ;) though I, " here is doubtless another instance where 
there is too much christainity for this perverted age to recog- 
nize, and therefore he must be offered in sacrifice upon this 
altar of insanity. Can it be that men as well as women, are 
imprisoned here, because they exhibit too much of Christ's 
spirit? I will find out whether this brother in bonds is of this 
class." With these thoughts I met my new friend, and ex- 
tending my hand, said, u good evening, Mr. , I dont rec- 
ollect your name." 

" My name is Jesus Christ." 

" Jesus Christ !" thought I, I was taken aback I knew 
not what to say 0, this is your insanity, this is your criminal 
offense, doubtless but how is this ? I am determined never to 
call a person insane for the utterance of opinions, merely, no 
matter how absurd but here is an opinion where, I fear my 
philosophy will be balked my principles are not going to 
stand this test ! 

N2 



298 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

"With these thoughts,! ventured to pursue my investigations, 
and recollecting how reasonable and sensible he had appeared, 
I asked him in reply to this introduction of himself, " but how 
is it, Sir, you can call yourself 'Jesus Christ,' when he is the 
son of God, and came to earth, and was here crucified for 
sinners ?" 

" 0, I am not that Jesus Christ, but another Jesus Christ 
he is my oldest brother, and I being of the same family bear 
the same name, but, of course, there can be but one oldest 
brother in the great human family, any more than in any other 
family. Hav'nt you more than one son in your family ?" 

" Yes, I have five sons, my oldest is named Theophilus,my 
others, Samuel, George, etc." 

" Well, but are they not all Packards, the Samuel as well 
as the Theophilus, and is there any more impropriety in call- 
ing George the youngest, a Packard, than in calling Theoph- 
ilus, the oldest, a Packard?" 

"Why, no, not in that sense." 

" Just so it is in God's family all his sons are Jesus Christs 
as much as the first, just as soon as they become perfectly de- 
veloped into his spirit. Such are Jesus Christs, whether on 
earth or in heaven, as much as Jesus of Nazareth, was ; but 
they are all different persons. There is but one Jesus of 
Nazareth, but there are as many Christs as th^re are true 
perfected men. Such are all brothers bearing the same com- 
mon name, after Christ is fully developed in them." 

" Then you claim that the Christ is fully developed in you, 
do you, and that on this account yon call yourself 'Jesus 
Christ ?' " 

" Yes, I do. I consider that I am now perfect in God's es- 
timation, in the same sense that his oldest son was perfect. 
This is fulfilling the command to 'be ye perfect in Christ Jesus' 
meaning, perfect in Christ Jesus' estimation. I am not per- 
fect in the estimation of the church, or the world ; but in God's 
estimation, 1 have obeyed his command, in this respect. Do 
you think God would have commanded his children to do 
impossibilities ? and if they could not become perfect in his 



"JESUS CHRIST." 299 

estimation, he is an unreasonable being in issuing such a 
command." 

So here my " Mr. Jesus Christ" had explained himself to 
simply mean that he was a perfect man. He insists that he 
is not the Christ, the world's Savior, but simply a perfect 
person in Christ Jesus' estimation. Now, where is his insan- 
ity? even his " hobby," where has that gone ? Just into the 
belief of the perfectionists, as it was defended by Dr. Finney 
and others of this class. 

Now comes the question, shall this man be locked up 
in an " Asylum " because he says he is a perfect man in a 
style of language peculiar to himself in order to force him to 
abandon his originality of expression, and become an echo of 
other men's forms of expression? Yes, because he is insane 
on this point. Insane ! because he chooses to utter an opin- . 
ion respecting his own character in original language ! What 
a dangerous person to be allowed his liberty 1 "Won't he kill 
somebody? for somebody has chosen to call this peculiarity, 
insanity, instead of a singular mode of expression. Still he 
is dangerous, for we do not know what an insane person might 
do, although his opinions of himself seems to be true that is 
he seems to exhibit the Christ spirit to an uncommon degree, 
yet, he may kill somebody ! therefore he must be locked up. 
It won't do to wait until he lias killed somebody and then im- 
prison him as we do criminals after they have committed a 
crime; we must imprison this man not only before he has com- 
mitted any crime, but even before he has shown the first indi- 
cation that he ever intended to commit a criminal offense. 
Yes, he claims that he is Jesus Christ, and so long as he acts 
like Jesus Christ, he must be locked up to make him like 
other people, lest he kill somebody ! 

Now I think if all those who call themselves " Jesus Christ," 
and act like Jesus Christ, ought to be locked up for fear they 
may kill somebody, all those who call themselves " totally 
depraved," and act as though they are totally depraved, 
ought to be locked up also, for fear they may kill some- 
body too ! 



800 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LXXYII. 

Letter to Judge Whitlock, of Jacksonyille. 

In July, 1867, while in Jacksonville, to meet the Illinois 
Investigating Committee, I met Judge Whitlock, before 
whom the cases at the Asylum were tried, after. Dr. McFar- 
land had sent off all those whom he thought would not be 
condemned by a Jury as insane. Of course, this number 
would be expected to include none except those whom he 
could hope to induce the Jury to believe were insane. 

The Investigating Committee remark in their Report, that 
" it is a noticeable fact, however, that the number of discharged 
patients represented as cured, during the time between the 
appointment of the Committee and the time of their exami- 
nation of the records, is double that of any given length of 
time previously." The reason for this double number of 
sudden and remarkable cures (?) during this period, is self- 
evident to any reflecting mind. Dr. McFarland knew that 
the coming crisis must inevitably expose and bring to light 
this large class of sane prisoners which he was holding with- 
out "legal evidence" of their insanity; and therefore, to 
prevent the exposure of this nefarious work, he sent off this 
class of prisoners as among the "cured" in their discharge ! 

Although, like Mrs. Sarah Minard, wife of Ira Minard, of St. 
Charles, Illinois, who was one of this class who had been un- 
justly retained there for nine years, there had been no change 
in them from the time they were entered until they were 
discharged, yet, being recorded as "cured," or as "hopelessly 
insane," as my diploma from him designates, he hoped "my 
policy" could thus conceal his guilt in the matter. And it 
did, for a time, suspend the verdict of public opinion from 
deciding against him. For, when the Report of Drs. John- 
son and Patterson, and other Superintendents was published, 
that in their opinion, there were none " improperly retained " 
there, it led the public to suppose the report that there wero 
sane people confined there, was false and without foundation, 



JUDGE WHITLOCK. 301 

until the State's Investigating Committee, afterwards found 
the reason for their not being found there was the dischage of 
this double number of "cured" patients! 

But notwithstanding, Judge Whitlock found among them 
one good old minister who had been a most unwilling prisoner 
there for many years, and whose intelligence was so marked 
and apparent, that he felt most keenly the degradation of the 
plane he was so unjustly placed upon. The Judge told me 
that after the most searching examination of nearly three 
hours length, he could not detect the least indication of 
unsoundness of mind, or loss of reason that he reasoned 
masterly upon all subjects, both scientific, legal, political, and 
religious, and he was just on the point of deciding that he 
was sane, when the Doctor came in, and his opinion was 
asked respecting his sanity , and his opposite opinion turned 
the scales against him. This minister, seeing that the 
Doctor was going to cause his terrible imprisonment to be 
perpetuated, felt " excited," as any other sane person would 
naturally feel under such circumstances, and in this state of 
mind became a little unguarded in his expressions, and gave 
utterance to some novel and original expressions of thought, 
such as the "machinery of God's government," and such like, 
when the Judge decided, without waiting to hear his own 
interpretation, which might have been as satisfactory as was 
the " Mr. Jesus Christ," that he was insane ; for on one point 
he had expressed an opinion he did not at once understand ! 

My sympathies were aroused for the old man, and I defend- 
ed his sanity and his liberty, when the Judge decided, "No, 
he is insane on that point, and therefore he ought to be locked 
up for fear he may kill somebody ! n And it was to convince 
the Judge, if possible, of the fallacy of this position, that I 
sent him the following letter the next day : 

JACKSONVILLE, July 26, 1867. 

JUDGE WHITLOCK. Dear Sir: Supposing I should go to 
those Judges whom I have heard defend that it is inhuman to 
imprison a human being on the plea of insanity, simply for 
the utterance of absurd opinions, and should say to them, 



802 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

''Judge Whitlock does not agree with you in opinion on that 
point ; and I have heard him argue, that since these delusions 
and absurdities demonstrate that his reason is dethroned in a 
measure, fidelity to his interests and community both, justify 
us in taking from him that most blessed boon of his existence 
his personal liberty for he may kill some one if we do not! 
and we may possibly cure him by locking him up in a public 
hospital ! " 

Supposing, Sir, I should add, il Now I regard these views of 
Judge Whitlock as absurd and inhuman, and on these points 
I regard him as unsound, unreasonable, plainly indicating that 
his reason is in some measure dethroned; and on his own 
principles, he ought to be locked up, lest he may kill some- 
body ! for it is not safe to have a person at large whose reason 
is in any measure dethroned, for we do not know what an 
insane person may do ! " 

Supposing these Judges should say, " We agree with you, 
that Judge Whitlock is insane on these points, although he 
is a man of acknowledged ability, and veracity, and integrity 
generally, yet, for his good, and the safety of community, we 
think he had better feel the application of his own principles 
to himself, and thus mete out to him the same measure he is 
meting out to others, hoping in this way to bring him to his 
reason, or set him right on this point. He may possibly come 
out the defender of human rights and personal liberty, and he 
may kill somebody if we do not ! " 

Judge Whitlock, I do not say I shall do this thing, but 
supposing I should, and the first you know, you are brought 
before a Jury, on the charge of insanity ; and the Jury should 
decide that Judge Whitlock is not perfectly sound in his 
mind " he reasons absurdly on the subject of human rights 
he is insane." What would be your defense ? " 

I do not engage, Judge Whitlock, to publish your argu- 
ment in my forthcoming book. I only say, I retain a copy of 
this letter and should like to have you give me your reply in 
writing. Very respectfully yours, E. P. W. PACKARD. 

Judge Whitlock's reply has not yet been received. 



CONTENTMENT. 303 

LXXVIII. 
Difference between Contentment and Patience. 

In reply to my saying to Mrs. Page, a sane prisoner, " I 
find it impossible to be contented will my present lot, although 
it is my constant prayer that I may be patient and contented," 
she remarked, "I wish to inform you that patience and con- 
tentment are two very different virtues. You are not re- 
quired to be contented to suffer unjust imprisonment. Your 
nature revolts at wrong and injustice, and you cannot be con- 
tented to have it continue; but you ought to be patient to 
wait God's time for its removal." 

The question arose in my mind, does not- patience in its 
fullest exercise include contentment? That is, must I, in 
order to practice the virtue of patience be content with pris- 
on life under present circumstances? Paul says, "I have 
learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." 
And he was unjustly imprisoned did he learn to be content- 
ed with it ? If so, I must, for there is no christain grace or 
virtue which is not obligatory upon me to possess. Now have 
I been like one "beating the air,' 1 in trying to school myself 
to contentment, or am I striving after unattainable virtue ? 
Must a slave be content with his lot, as a slave ? Can he be 
content with his lot while at the same time he .is striving to 
escape it ? Can we be contented while writhing in anguish 
from bodily disease, while at the same time we are striving to 
remove the disease ? 

Again, whatever is permitted, is God's appointment. Must 
we therefore be content with things as they are ? We must 
be contented in the sense that we must not murmur at our lot, 
but patiently strive to remove all removable evils attending 
it; and what are at present beyond our control, we must bear 
with quiet resignation. 

" With cheerful feet thy path of duty run, 

God nothing does, nor suffers to be done, 

But what thou would'st thyself, could'st thou but 866 

Through all events of things as well as He." 



804 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Now, have I not done all in my power to get justice done 
me, and as jet, all in vain? Must I therefore conclude that 
evil, is for the present, the best state possible, for the greatest 
good results ? And is all that I have done like water spilled 
on the ground? No, I do not cherish such feelings. I be- 
lieve all conscientiously used means for the removal of evils 
are like good seed, which, although long buried, will sometime 
spring up and bear fruit, corresponding to its character. But 
like good husbandmen-, it becomes us to have patience, long 
waiting if need be, for the appearance of the tender blade. 
0, if I could but see the tender blade, how it would quicken 
my hope how patient I could then be. But to be patient 
now without anything of sight to rest upon is a greater, be- 
cause a more difficult virtue to cultivate. I may never in all 
my existence have another such opportunity for this highest 
exercise of faith. If I have disquietude of spirit, a lack of 
perfect peace, it must be because my mind is not fully "stay- 
ed on God." I find seeking the natural to support faith up- 
on, is paralyzing the spiritual, on which alone it should rest 
and depend. 

And now knowing as I do that I am suffering wrongfully, 
why can I not rest wholly upon God's promises, and his char- 
acter for my support, and not be so eagerly watching for their 
fulfillment, before God's time come to vindicate himself? 
Should my faith fail in this, my greatest emergency, might I 
not have reason to fear that some other furnace would be 
prepared in which to try it, which might be more severe than 
the present? 0, yes, there is no safety but in trusting God, 
by doing right, and thus feeling right. Therefore I trust I 
am doing right by trying to be contented with my present 
trials, unremoved, and having food and raiment let me be 
content to be without children, without home, without society, 
without liberty ! I have litterally given up all things for 
Christ's sake, and now all I have to do is to simply trust his 
word, that they shall be restored to me in tenfold measure. 
0, let me not forfeit this title by impatience or murmuring. 

This dispensation seems to be characterized by the princi- 



FREEDOM. 305 

pie of overcoming evil with evil ; human hearts have to be 
purified so as by fire. But when the Christ principle has 
permeated the human soul so as to be its abiding, living ele- 
ment, we may hope that evil will then be overcome with good. 
As an attempt to cure disease by inflicting another disease, 
may be better secured by invigorating the powers of nature, 
thus capacitating it to cure and throw off its own disease; 
so, instead of meeling amoral evil by a worse evil, just meet 
it with kindness, which draws into exercise the better emo- 
tions, only to be quickened into a deeper and stronger life by 
the exercise of them. Thus capaciated they can overcome 
the evils of nature, by surplanting them with good. Instead 
therefore of curing an evil by inflicting a worse, we eradicate 
it by the substitution of its counterpart, virtue. 



LXXIX. 
My Successful Attempt to Obtain my Freedom. 

A few days prior to the September meeting of the Trustees, 
1862, in a familiar conversation with Dr. McParland in my 
room, I remarked, " Doctor, I don't like to spend my days here 
doing nothing ; why can't I fire a few guns at Calvinism, be- 
fore those Trustees, who are to meet in a few days ?" 

u Why, Mrs. Packard, they are Calvinists, and the chair- 
man is a member of the Presbyterian Synod of the United 
States!" 

" I don't care for that I should not hesitate to give my 
views befere the Synod, itself, if allowed. And besides, it 
is all the better for your cause that they are, for my views 
will be likely to be regarded by them as insane, because a 
difference of opinion is insanity you know on the minority 
side of the question, of course ! Now one, alone, against so 
many and that one a woman, too what have you to fear?" 

This was enough. He was converted into a free and full 



306 THE PEISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

consent that I might fire all the guns I pleased at Calvinism, 
and he would furnish me with all the paper I wished to write 
my views upon. 

" Now," thought he, " Mrs. Packard will unmask herself, 
thus demonstrating to the Trustees that I represent her cor- 
rectly in calling her insane. Yes, she'll hang herself!" 

The Doctor was true to his promise, and brought me paper 
himself, the first sheet he had ever brought me, and I, true to 
my engagement, made out the most clear, concise, and com- 
prehensive view I could of the whole system, of Calvinism, 
as I apprehended it, by contrasting each principle with the 
Christian principle, showing the system to be " doctrines of 
devils," instead of doctrines of Christ ! 

This document as I then prepared it and laid before the 
Trustees, is in print, on the 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23d, pages of 
the first installment of " The Great Drama," six thousand 
copies of which are already in circulation, entitled, " Calvin- 
ism and Christianity Compared." 

The Doctor examined my document, and finding it all right 
he engaged to call for me the next day, in the afternoon, and 
take me down to the parlor, where I should there meet the 
Trustees. Keeping my wardrobe in order for the dancing 
parties, I easily found a very suitable summer costume in 
readiness for the occasion, which, with a tasteful head-dress 
to relieve the sky-blue trimmings of my white lawn dress, I 
made quite as good an appearance as any one need desire. 
Therefore with more of a queenlike feeling, than that of an 
imprisoned slave, I took the proffered arm of the Doctor, and 
was escorted by him into the parlor of these grave, dignified 
gentlemen, and in the most gallant manner he introduced me, 
first to the chairman, and then to the other gentleman, sep- 
arately, after which, he led me to a most conspicuous seat by 
the chairman, when I withdrew my arm from his own, and sat 
down. 

Here I must notify my readers that there was one gentle- 
men present to whom he did not introduce me, and to whom 
I did not speak. But, as I afterwards learned, he did spf-ak 



FREEDOM. 307 

of me, and of the impression I made on his feelings, as he saw 
me so politely escorted into the room by the Doctor, in theso 
words, " Inr-vcr saw a lady look so sweet and attractive as 
she did !" 

Now, I will introduce the gentleman to my readers as, Rev. 
Mr. Packard, the husband of this lady. 

The chairman, Mr. Brown, then addressed me in these words, 
" Mrs. Packard, we have heard Mr. Packard's statement, and 
Dr. McFarland has informed us that you have something you 
would like to say to us. We will allow you ten minutes to 
say it in." 

Taking out my gold watch and looking at it, I remarked, 
to the Doctor who sat opposite me, "please inform me when 
my time is up, will you ? and I will stop at any moment you 
designate." 

Nodding his consent to do so, I commenced reading my 
document with a clear, calm, distinct voice, to a silently at- 
tentive audience. So profound was the silence, I could al- 
most hear the joyous pulsations of my own heart. On, on, I 
went, demolishing fortress after fortress of the Calvinistic 
croed, and notwithstanding the havoc and devastation, thus 
caused by the skillful use of the weapon of truth and com- 
mon sense, still I was tolerated. Neither did my time keeper 
inform me that I was most egregriously trespassing upon the 
limits of the time assigned me, although my ten minutes was 
soon lost in the fifty minutes they allowed me, before our in- 
terview terminated. 

Having finished my " exposure of Calvinism and defense 
of Christianity," I was emboldened by their toleration to ask 
another license, which was, permission to read another docu- 
ment which I had clandestinely prepared and taken with me, 
but which the Doctor had never seen. That this license was 
most cheerfully and readily granted, was indicated not only 
by an unanimous hand vote of the Trustees, but also by the 
accompanying exclamations, " Let her go on ! Let us hoar 
the whole !" 

In view of this generous and cheerful response, I playfully 



808 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

remarked, " I should think appearances betoken that I am in 
the element where freedom of opinion is tolerated." 

""We don't know about women thinking as they please! 
"We must look after them" responded Mr. Club. 

He was promptly silenced, however, by the noble "woman's 
right's" Miner, remarking in a very decided tone, " Go on I 
Mrs. Packard, Goon!" 

After thanking friend Miner for his generous defense, I pro- 
ceeded to read my unknown document to equally attentive 
listeners. This document exposed " the conspiracy" of their 
Superintendent and Mr. Packard against my personal liberty, 
in as bold and uncompromising terms as my exposure of Cal- 
vinism had been given in. Still I was tolerated! 

The Superintendent and the Minister listened in mute 
amazement to this dauntless revelation of the truth and their 
own guilt. Without denying one of my statements, or offer- 
ing a single apology, Mr. Packard left the room at the request 
of the Trustees. The Superintendent soon followed. The 
Trustees now acted the part of cross-questioning attorneys, 
while I their witness, was secretly exulting in the opportuni- 
ty thus afforded me, of making farther revelations of the 
depth and magnitude of this malign conspiracy. 

The playful, easy style and manner in which I made my 
statements, seemed to dissipate the sanctimonious gravity of 
this august body so that they came to seemingly regard me 
as one of their number, instead of a culprit under the grace 
of court ! They manifested a willingness to do anything 
and everything I asked. Mr. Brown told me himself, that he 
saw it was of no use for me to think of returning to my hus- 
band, but gallantly offered to send me, independent of him, 
to my children at Manteno, if I thought best to go ; or, they 
would pay my passage to go to my father in Massachusetts ; 
or, they would pay my board in Jacksonville, if I chose. 
In short, I could have my liberty to do just as I pleased, as 
they were satisfied the Insane Asylum was no place for me. 

I, of course, thanked them most sincerely for this offer of 
liberty, for it was to me tb* most blessed boon of my exist- 



FREEDOM. 309 

ence, but I added, " Gentlemen, it is of no use for me to 
accept the offer at your hands, for although you acknowledge 
by this act that I have a right to my liberty, yet, you have 
no power to protect this right to me; for since lam a married 
woman, I have no legal protection of my person, or any of 
my rights, only as this protection is guaranteed to me through 
the voluntary act of my husband. The law does not compel 
him to protect or support me outside of an Insane Asylum, if 
he only chooses to claim that lam insane. This charge from 
my husband, even before it is proved against me, annihilates 
all my rights as a human being, not even excepting the right 
of self-defense from. this charge. But on this, his single alle- 
gation, confirmed by the signature of your Superintendent, 
he can lawfully imprison me for life in this, or some other 
Insane Asylum. No father, brother, son or friend, or even 
our Governor, himself, has the power to protect the personal 
liberty of any married woman in this State, while such a law 
exists on Illinois' statute book. There is no protection of my 
personal liberty under the American flag, so long as Mr. Pack- 
ard lives, therefore I may as well spend my days in this prison 
as in any other." 

The Trustees replied, "We pity you it is a hard case 
we never before realized how defenseless a married woman was 
under our laws ; but what can we do for you ? Is there any- 
thing?" 

"Yes, gentlemen, there is one thing you can do, and only one 
that I can see, by which you can exonerate yourselves from 
complicity in this transaction, and at the same time confer a 
great favor upon me, which is, to furnish me with a key, or a 
pass, by which my personal liberty would be in my own hands, 
rather than in your hands as it now is. I might continue to 
stay for the present, as I have done, subject to the rules of 
the other prisoners, in all other respects, except that of being 
my own keeper. Ihave felt it my duty to protest againstmy 
false imprisonment, and have, thereby, shut myself up more 
closely than the others are, for in my protest I said I shall 
never return a voluntary prisoner into the wards; neither can 






310 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I do so, for I regard this vow as sacred. Indeed, I can not 
now even return to the wards voluntarily, without a key or a 
pass. And if you force me back, it is you who are imprison- 
ing me, and on you must hereafter rest the responsibility of 
being accomplices in this conspiracy." 

They did not give me a key, nor a pass, neither did they 
request Dr. McFarland to do so, but thus compelled the 
Superintendent to carry me back in his own arms, as was tho 
case. But they did confer upon me the right to advise with 
the Doctor, assuring me I might do as he and myself could 
agree it was best to be done. 

Accordingly, the following day the Superintendent called 
upon me in my room, and introduced the subject by saying, 
"Well, Mrs. Packard, the Trustees thought you hit the mark 
with your gun!" 

"Did they? Was that what they were shouting at, after I 
left the room?" 

"Yes, it was; for I told them that you wished to 'fire a few 
guns at Calvinism.' " 

"I knew, Doctor, that I had put in a heavy charge, but I 
determined to risk it, and improve my chance lest I should 
not get another. I some feared it might burst the cannon ! 
But it did not; for I see none of them believe me to be an 
insane person, after all." 

"Mrs. Packard, won't you give me a copy of that document, 
for what is worth hearing once, is worth hearing twice." 

"Yes, Doctor, I am perfectly willing to do so, for I should 
like you to have a copy, and the Trustees also, and I should 
like my father to have one, and my early friend, Rev. H. W. 
Beecher, and some others of my Orthodox friends. But it is 
very irksome for me to copy. How would it do to get a few 
printed in handbill form, and send them to my friends?" 

" I think it would be well to do so, and I will pay the prin- 
ter. You re-write it, and add to it what was said, and I will 
see that it is done, forthwith." 

"Do you mean to have both documents printed ; the expo- 
sure of the conspiracy, also ?" 



FREEDOM. 311 

" Yes, the whole ; and anything else you choose to add." 

"Well done, for Dr. McFarland ! If you are going to give 
me such liberty, I shall feel that I am a free woman ; and 
this may possibly prepare the way for my liberation." 

The paper was faithfully provided by the Doctor, and I, 
with the most elastic feelings which this hope of deliverance 
inspired, went to work to prepare my document for the prin- 
ter. But before twenty-four hours had elapsed since this 
liberty license was granted to my hitherto prison bound intel- 
lect, the vision of a big book began to dawn upon my mind, 
accompanied with the most delightful feeling of satisfaction 
with my undertaking. The next time the Doctor called, I 
told him that " it seems to me I must write a book. The 
thoughts and their arrangement, are all new and original, 
until suggested to my mind by this sort of mental vision. 
What shall I do, Doctor?" 

" Write it out just as you see it." 

He then furnished me with paper, and gave directions to the 
attendants to let no one disturb me, and let me do just as I 
pleased. I commenced writing out this mental vision, and 
in six weeks time I penciled the substance of " The Great 
Drama," which, when written out for the press, covers two 
thousand five hundred pages of note paper. Can I not truly 
say my train of thought was engineered by the " Lightning 
Express ?" I had no books to aid me but Webster's large 
Dictionary, and the Bible. It came wholly through my own 
reason and intellect, quickened into unusual activity by the 
perfect state of my health, from the most persistent conform- 
ity to the laws of health in eating, sleeping, and exercise, and 
by the inspiring hope of coming freedom. The production 
is a remarkable one, as well as the indicting of it, a very sin- 
gular phenomenon. If, during my life-time, this "Great 
Drama " can be published and not imperil my personal liberty, 
I shall be happy to give it to the world. But until that time 
arrives, when an original thought can be spoken or written, 
without incurring the charge of insanity for such an act, my 
personal liberty is only safe, while this manuscript is hid from 
the age in which it was written. 



312 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

LXXX. 

The Dawning of a New Dispensation. 

The reader will perceive by the preceding chapter that a 
new dispensation has dawned upon me that the Superintend- 
ent is regarding his prisoner in the light of a citizen, rather 
than a slave. And if any of my readers feel disposed to cen- 
sure me for seeming so readily to forgive this great sinner, let 
me remind them that they may perhaps be better prepared to 
judge correctly of my feelings if they could exchange situa- 
tions with me. 

Ever since the Doctor had taken my part in the insult of 
the Jacksonville aristocrats, I had an occasional cause to feel 
that my happiness was not an object of such stoical indiffer- 
ence to him as it formerly had been. And besides, I had 
noticed that just in proportion as I had Dr. McFarland's ap- 
proval, just in that proportion was I regarded as a terror to 
the evil doer ; neither was my influence over those who were 
doing well lessened by it. Therefore benevolence itself would 
prompt me to "impress" this influence into a good cause, if 
possible. And with me it has always been a settled purpose 
to train my own children and scholars to do right under the 
influence of encouragement, rather than censure. I am more 
watchful to find out some cause for just approbation, rather 
than for fault-finding. 

This being my native or home element it is not strange that 
I should seize with avidity the first opening bud of promise 
on this barren stock of manliness, which daily passed under 
my observation. Yes, I did strive with all the charity and 
forgiveness I could command, to find every hopeful sign that 
could be possibly summoned into the exercise of encourage- 
ment to the well doer ; for my principles led me to despise 
the flatterer as well as the slanderer that is, I could no 
more praise without cause for praise, than I could blame with- 
out cause for blame. Both being falsehoods, I could practice 



.NEW DISPENSATION. 813 

neither, and it was not possible for me to determine which 
evil of the two was the greatest, therefore I strove to avoid 
both. 

Again, my theology teaches me that in every human being 
there is a soul to be redeemed. That in every rock there is 
a well. Could I not therefore hope that the drill of long and 
patient perseverance might yet reach this spring in this Doc- 
tor's flinty heart? Yes, I had my hope quickened into a 
spasmodic life that the latent spark of manliness in this hard- 
ened sinner, might yet be developed into the strength of a 
vigorous life, corresponding to his intellectual strength. It 
was my aim and purpose thus to develop him, by the only 
power in the universe adequate to this work, and fitted for it, 
and that is, " woman's influence." Indeed I fully determined 
that in the same ratio that he had tried to crush the woman- 
hood in me, in that same proportion would I raise the man- 
hood in him. And although my first effort for his elevation 
cost me banishment from the scenes of civilization, to dwell 
among maniacs, yet this did not dispirit me, or cause me to 
regret the effort. 

I know too, that God does not require one sinner to punish 
another sinner, for he has expressly claimed the right of pun- 
ishment as being his own prerogative. The Great Father of 
the human family has not delegated the right to one child to 
punish the faults of another child, but on the contrary, he 
claims the right of punishment as exclusively his own right. 
Therefore as his child I am bound to refer to my Father, the 
settlement of the wrongs I receive from my brothers and sis- 
ters. All he allows me to do is, to do them good, that is, to 
defend myself by benefitting them, not by injuring them. 
Now the greatest good I could bestow upon Dr. McFarland 
was, to influence him to stop sinning, by doing justice towards 
me, forthwith. And now that he had taken the first decided 
step in that direction, I aimed to urge him onward by every 
possible influence. 

Again, I do not feel called upon to judge of the motives of 
my fellow sinners. If they act right, it is none of my busi- 



314 THE PRISONEE S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ness wnat motive prompted the act. For example, if Dr. 
McFarland allows me the right of self-defense, and thereby 
secured my personal liberty, I have a right to acknowledge 
the act as a good one, even if he was compelled to do so 
through fear of exposure or punishment, or even if selfish 
policy, and nothing else, prompted him to do this good deed. 
His subsequent course has demonstrated that he had no good 
end in view, so far as I was concerned, in allowing me to write 
this book, but on the contrary he determined to use the book 
as the means of getting me again incarcerated. As he had 
allowed me to expose Calvinism before the Trustees, for the 
purpose of getting their sanction in calling me an insane per- 
son ; so he now allowed me to write a book, hoping thus to 
secure the sanction of my readers in calling me insane. And 
notwithstanding the whole plot had been conceived and exe- 
cuted on the principles of the most conceited selfishness, yet, 
I have no right on that ground to call the act a wrong, or a 
bad act. These may have been the highest motives this hard- 
ened sinner could possibly exercise, on this low plane on 
which his persistent iniquities had placed him. 

And since my Father in Heaven does not ignore /ear, as a 
bad motive, why should L? He says, " the fear of the Lord 
is the beginning of wisdom," evidently representing this prin- 
ciple as the very lowest round of the ladder of human pro- 
gression; yet being an agent employed by God for the sinner's 
arrest in his downward course, we should not despise it, lest 
we thus " quench the smoking flax, or break the bruised 
reed." 

But the caviler may say, " what goodness can be attributed 
to the act of giving you what was already yours by the right 
of inheritance, as a human boing? Your right of self-de- 
fense was not Dr. McFarland's to bestow, even if he did allow 
you to use this right, while others withdrew from you every 
opportunity for its exercise. It was yours already. You 
did not seem to feel under any special obligation to Mr. Pack- 
ard for giving you your old clothes on this principle." 

" No, I did not, for he was at this time beyond the limits 



NEW DISPENSATON. 815 

of Christian fellowship. I felt conscious that the law of love 
required me to withdraw from him all fellowship, believing 
he belonged to that class whom we are commanded to treat 
in this manner, for their good. I had borne with him until 
forbearance had ceased to be a virtue; for every act of fellow- 
ship bestowed, only encouraged him in his course of wrong 
doing. I had for twenty-one years pursued this uniform 
course of persistent kindness, only to be trampled under his 
feet, for so doing, and now circumstances compelled me to 
treat him on a plane lower even, than the fear of punishment. 
From that class who cannot be moved even by the lowest 
motive in human development, I feel bound to withdraw my- 
self, knowing that stern justice alone can now move them in 
the line of repentance, and as he had denied me the least 
shadow of justice in the right of self-defense, it was now meet 
that he should experience the justice he had denied me. 

This was not taking justice into my own hands, it was only 
leaving him to his own chosen way to work out his own des- 
truction, unimpeded. All hope of deliverance from this incor- 
rigible sinner, had long since gone out in utter darkness. He 
had deliberately put me off upon another man's protection, by 
withdrawing his own entirely. 

And I must say that I felt a little exultant, uuder the 
thought that my entrance on the Doctor's arm might possibly 
make him feel that I had found in the protector he had chos- 
en for me, one that suited me better than the one of my own 
choice! Here let me say to my husband, that as it is perfect- 
ly natural for me to love the opposite sex, it need not be a 
matter of surprise to him if I should come to love the only 
man he allowed me to associate with, for three years, especial- 
ly if I can find in him anything worthy of my love. And 
failing to find the jewel I sought for in this personification of 
a man, 1 determined to develop it, if woman's influence could 
do it, and now my hopes so long buried, were just germinat- 
ing, and that they might perfect the beautiful buds of promise 
was to me my soul inspiring business to hasten this consuma- 
tion. 



316 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Under the influence of these new and most joyous emotions 
I pursued my delightful employment of writing my most nov- 
el book. The gallant and now gentlemanly Doctor's visits 
were most welcome seasons of rich and varied interchange of 
thoughts, so that my mind seemed stimulated into a new and 
healthful activity from this powerfully magnetic influence. 
The sound of his footsteps in the hall, and his gentle knock at 
my door now caused my heart to bound with joy, as before it 
had caused a throb of anguish, to know that he was on his 
way to my room, into which he would bolt the most uncer- 
emoniously, without caring whether he was welcome or not. 
Now to be treated as a lady, in this gallant manner, by this 
once boorish man, was to me the inauguration of a new and 
delightful era of my prison life. 

But the brightest day has its clouds, and the finest gold has 
its dross, as will be demonstrated in the following chapter. 



LXXXI. 
The Moral Barometer Indicates a Storm A Hurricane. 

Woman's love for man is based on the principle of reverence. 
We can never truly love a man who has never inspired in us 
the feeling of fear, or reverence. A woman's nature calls 
for protection, as instinctively as the climbing rose calls for 
something stronger than itself to climb upon. She can not, 
naturally, cling to a nature weaker than her own, any more 
than the vine can naturally climb without a stronger support 
than its own to cling to. Fear, respect, and reverence, are 
emotions which superiority alone can inspire. I can not exer- 
cise the feeling of reverence towards a being whom I do not 
look up to, as to a superior. A child can not reverence his 
parent, unless that parent can command the feeling of author- 
ity over the child. Until this fear, or authority is established, 
the foundation stone of the edifice of filial love is wanting 
A servant can not reverence nor love his master, uuless the 



A HUERICANE. 317 

principle of authority is established in the master. Let the 
servant, or the child feel that he can rule the master, or par- 
ent, and thus hold this authority in his own hands, then the 
foundation for contempt or irreverence is established. 

God commands the love of all his creation on the principle 
of superiority, which inspires reverence for his authority, and 
from this root, the purest, tenderest, most confiding love, nat- 
urally germinates. Woman's nature is peculiarly fitted to 
love such a being, feeling him to be the embodiment of strength 
and power, such as she wants, to meet her instinctive aspira- 
tions. God tells us he has made man in his image, and 
therefore, on this basis, she turns to him as her natural pro- 
tector. She finds in man. this tower of strength and wisdom, 
which she, like the vine is in search of, to live a natural life. 

When she finds a man combining strength and wisdom 
superior to her own, she as naturally desires this power as her 
shield and defense, as she naturally desires food and sleep, to 
meet a demand of her nature. For example, my nature being 
endowed with the instincts of a natural woman, have ever 
sought for a personified deity in a man form, to reverence and 
love. This feeling was first exercised towards my father, 
whose authority and kindness quickened this latent spark 
into activity. His authority was the stepping stone to 
God's authority. He was, to my childish nature, God's 
representative, and just in proportion as I reverenced my 
father's authority, just in that proportion did I reverence God's 
authority. 

As the child, in time, lost itself in the mature woman, so 
the filial love for my father became merged into a higher love 
of manhood, that of companionship, as well as protection. 
Unlike some children, I could not find in my father that kind 
of companionship my development demanded. He ruled me 
still, but not through my freedom, as my intelligence demand- 
ed. This, therefore, stifled this confiding spirit, because it 
could not act in conflict with reason. 

And so it was with the feelings awakened by my husband's 
authority ; he mingled with it so much of the awe of the ty- 



318 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

rant, at the same time denying me the protection of the man, 
that my higher love, the conjugal, was never quickened into 
natural life under either influence. This great want of my 
nature, spiritual freedom, was never met or gratified, until 
this period, when, under the manly protection of Dr. McFar- 
land, I was allowed to be spiritually free in writing an inde- 
epdent book, free from all dictation. 

The awe of the tyrant was now settling into a reverence 
for a mighty power, adequate to the great emergency. As he 
had had almost omnipotent power to crush, so he now had thia 
same power to raise and defend me. The power of the hus- 
band, the power of the Trustees, the power of the State, had 
all been delegated to him. As to the power of protection, he 
was all in all to me now ; and the spiritual freedom granted 
to me by this power was almost God-like. 

Dr. McFarland knew that one great object in my writing 
my book, was to destroy the evils of Insane Asylums, and he 
knew too, that in order to expose these evils, I must necessa- 
rily expose him in his abuse of power. Still, like the Trustees, 
he tolerated the truth, sad though it was for example ; one 
day he came to my room after I had just completed a deline- 
ation of himself through his own actions, which presented 
him in a most unfavorable light, and as I allowed him to see 
all I wrote, if he wished it, I handed him these sheets, saying, 
" Doctor, what will you do when such facts come to be pub- 
lished ? Can you stand before them ?" 

After reading them carefully through, he remarked with a 
deep sigh, " If I stand at all, I must stand before it, for it is 
the truth!" 

Could I help reverencing a power who would thus submis- 
sively and coolly take this severe chastisement from one whom 
he regarded as his dependent? No, I could not. I felt that 
here was a eulogy, a compliment bestowed in a manly style, 
surpassing anything I had ever witnessed. It said to me, 
" Mrs. Packard, I can trust you I will trust you, for you are 
such a truthful witness I dare not confront you." Yes, his 
fortitude, his patience, his tolerance under my castigatiou, 



A HURRICANE. 319 

severe as his own unvarnished actions made them, really 
moved my pity, and led me to exclaim, " 0, Doctor, how 
could you compel me to write such a ha'teful record I How 
could you act so meanly ! How I do wish I had no such sad 
truths to tell ! Now Doctor, you must give me a chance to 
redeem your character as a penitent. Won't you do so?" 

Yes, he did resolve to be my manly protector, by letting me 
write just such a book as I pleased, thus trusting his charac- 
ter, as it were, entirely in my hands. 0, this trust ! This 
sacred trust, second to nothing but the ark of truth! Under 
the influence of these feelings, the legitimate offspring of such 
exhibitions of manliness, I prepared the first installment of 
" The Great Drama," for publication. 

I told him the manuscript was ready for the printer, 
and inquired if he held himself responsible to publish this, by 
the first offer he had made me. Of course there was ground 
for hesitation by the enhanced expense. I, therefore, offered 
to write to my son and get the extra amount, to meet this 
emergency. Still he hesitated I thought too, I could detect 
the old "policy" principle coming into life again, aiming to 
supplant the self-sacrificing spirit of benevolence, which 
seemed to be just taking root in his heart. I trembled, know- 
ing that my all, depended upon his continuance in well doing. 
I asked wisdom. It was impressed upon my mind to write 
him a letter I did so, and as I took it to my attendant, Miss 
Mills, and asked her to carry it to the Doctor's office, and 
deliver it herself, I said, as the presentiment of the coming 
storm came over me, " This may bring a storm of indignation 
upon me ; if it does, do the best you can for me, but don't tell 
a lie to help me." 

In this note I had expressed my fears, that the fear of man 
was gaining the ascendancy over his better nature that in- 
stead of daring to trust himself where the truth would place 
him, as his higher nature prompted, I feared he was settling 
down on to the plane of selfish policy, so beneath the noble 
dignity of his nature, and I gently warned him of the conse- 
quences of such a relapse, saying, "I shall be just as much 



320 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

bound to expose the truth, as before ;" but with this relapse 
I could not save him with this cause of truth, as he would 
not then be the penitent, which was indispensable to my saving 
him with the ark of truth. In short, I added, <l If you fail 
to keep your promise to publish my book, or help me to liber- 
ty, I shall feel bound to fulfill my promise to expose you." 

In about one hour from the time Miss Mills delivered the 
note, I heard his footsteps in the hall, and I could also almost 
hear my own heart palpitate with emotion as the step ap- 
proached my door. I responded to his rap as usual, by open- 
ing the door, and extending my hand, said, " Good morning, 
Doctor 1" but my salutation was not returned, and instead of 
accepting my proffered hand, he sternly remarked, " Step out 
of your room I" 

" Step out of my room! did you say?" 

"Yes." 

I obeyed, when no sooner was I past the threshold, than he 
pulled my door together, and locked it against me. Then 
holding his key in his hand, as much as to say, " I hold your 
destiny by the power of this key, and I hold too, that precious 
book now in your room under the power of this key ; it there- 
fore becomes you to be careful what you do 1" and standing 
in front of me, he said, " Mrs. Packard, I consider that note 
you sent me as unladylike as containing a threat." 

Pausing a moment, I replied, " Dr. McFarland, that note 
contained the truth, and nothing but the truth. I promised 
you when I had been here only four months, that I should 
expose you when I got out, unless you repented I don't 
take it back ! I don't recant !" 

Without saying another word, he took hold of my arm and 
led me gently into a screen-room, and locked me up ! This 
was the first time I had ever been locked in a screen-room, 
and now his own hand had turned the bolt of this maniac's 
cell upon me ! Unlike screen-rooms generally, this room had 
a chair in it, which the prisoners said the Doctor carried in 
himself before he came to my door. 

Having of course here nothing to do, I took tho chair :ind 



A HURRICANE. 321 

placing it before the corner of the room, I seated myself and 
tipped it back, and resting my head against a pillow I took 
from the bed, I tried to compose myself tosleep, knowing that 
good sleep is as good an antidote to trouble, as I could then 
command. In this position I quietly rested with closed eyes, 
for two hours, thinking over the probable fate of my book. 
" There is one part of my book," thought I, " which will es- 
cape this destruction, for Miss Mills had yesterday taken the 
first volume down to Mrs. Chapman of the Seventh ward. 
The Doctor won't find this in my room, thank good fortune !" 

But I am sorry to say this part of my soliloquy did not 
prove true, for the Doctor, after searching all the things in my 
room, even the bedding, both of the ticks, and both of the 
pillows, and not finding this book which he knew was ready 
for the press, he finally inquired of Miss Mills if she knew 
where one volume of Mrs. Packard's book could be found. 
My kind attendant, recollecting my instruction, "Don't tell 
a lie to help me," felt bound to tell the truth, which she did. 
The Doctor, therefore, went to Mrs. Chapman's room and de- 
manded the book. She took the manuscript from between 
her ticks and handed it to him. "Now," thought I, "this pal- 
try thief has got every scrap of my precious book into his own 
hands! besides all the other manuscripts and all the stationery 
of every kind, which I had in my possession that he could 
find." But thanks to a good Providence, my entire journal 
escaped this wreck. 

Although the greater part of it passed through his fingers, 
yet he knew it not ! It was all rolled up in small, separate 
portions, in the different articles of my wardrobe, and as the 
Doctor handled over each and every article of linen in my 
trunk, he little thought that the contents of this book then 
passed unobserved, through his fingers, by being wrapped up 
in these articles, and fastened by a pin. Had he removed 
one pin and thus found one roll, he would, doubtless, have 
removed all the pins, and thus found them all. But it seems 
the Doctor's curiosity was satisfied with the examination of a 
lady's wardrobe, without looking to see with his own eyes the 
stvlo of embroidery upon her linen ! 



322 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

After this general overhauling of my things, it seems the 
Doctor was not satisfied, for he then went to every female 
employee, and in the most excited state they had ever seen 
their Superintendent, asked them the question he had asked 
Miss Mills, viz; "Do you know of any place where Mrs. 
Packard keeps her papers ?" 

None, except Miss Mills, were able to inform him on this 
point, for my prudence did not allow me to make a confidant 
in these matters, of any person in the house except myself, 
not even after the new dispensation had been opened upon 
me ; for I knew that it is not all gold that glitters, and pos- 
sibly this gold which I thought I had found in the Doctor, 
might not stand the smelting process to which I knew it must 
yet be subjected ! I now saw the wisdom of granting to great 
sinners a "day of probation," before taking them into "full 
fellowship 1" 

When my " new convert" had got through his " backslid- 
ing" business, he came to my room, and unlocking my door 
found his prisoner as quietly sleeping, to all appearance, while 
this wrath cloud of indignation was expending itself about 
her, as if she had no responsibility of any other person's ac- 
tions resting upon her except her own. 

I opened my eyes, and said to the Doctor who stood in the 
open doorway looking at me, " Can I come out now?" 

"Yes." 

"Can I go to my room?" 

"Yes, of course." 

He then followed me to the door of my room, and as he 
unlocked it and disclosed to my view the empty box upon the 
floor, which two hours before contained my precious book, 
and my beJ and toilet articles presenting the appearance that 
my room had had a crazy occupant in it since I left it, I 
turned my eyes from that sad scene to his face, and simply 
said, in a quiet, soft tone, as I laid my hand gently upon his 
arm, " Doctor, never fear 1 God reigns ! This will all work 
right 1" 



THE CLOUDS DISPERSE. 323 

LXXXII. 
The Clouds Disperse. 

This sudden tempest which had just passed over the moral 
horizon of earthly destiny, had in its violence left my earthly 
prospects a complete wreck. Nothing tangible was now to 
be found to rest my troubled soul upon. If it were not that 
my anchor had been cast within the veil, and found there a 
firm foundation to rest it upon, this foundering bark of my 
earthly destiny must have become a perfect wreck. But, 
thank God, this refuge of faith failed not, and thus I stood un- 
harmed. Even my peace and composure of soul never for- 
sook me for one hour, but on the contrary land my friend Mrs. 
Olsen, seemed to be the only hopeful ones in the Asylum, as 
to the effect of this moral hurricane. From every part of 
this spacious house I could hear that the wail of pity for me 
was being expressed in language as various as the sources 
whence it came I received many of the most tender messages 
of sympathy suited to the emergency. But in one particular 
all agreed that I should never see my book again. 

" It is lost ! forever lost as to your ever seeing it again," 
was the great unquestioning fact on which their sympathy 
was predicated. Since I kept my own secrets in more than 
one particular, these sympathizers did not know on what 
ground I built my -hope, when I assured them all, I should 
get my book again. " He will return it to me. He will not 
burn it," was my decided response, to their kind and gener- 
ous sympathy. This was to them a mystery they could not 
fathom, and I must add in truth to myself, that it was almost 
as much so to myself; but, like Abraham, I felt that my dar- 
ling book would in some way be saved, as was his darling Isaac. 
But, like him, I only knew by the assurance of faith in God's 
promises. Iknew that whatever Host for truth's sake would 
be restored to me fourfold. I had deliberately exposed my 
book to save Dr. McFarland's soul; that is, I was willing to 
probe deep into this sinner's corrupt heart, lest the " hurt be 



324: THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

healed slightly," and therefore I told him plainly the conse- 
quences of backsliding, hoping thus to hedge up the way 
against it. But instead of this, the sunlight of truth caused 
these buds upon the house top to wither and decay the res 
olution of holy obedience had not yet found the good soil 
of firmness and moral courage to take root in, so as to make 
it a principle of permanent growth. 

But what must now be done ? Must he be left as an in- 
corrigible sinner, past all hope of redemption ? My faith said 
"No, try again." I did try again, and when the next 
morning he came his usual rounds, and found me sitting in my 
room quietly sewing with my door wide open, and my room 
full of prisoners, listening to my conversation for their enter- 
tainment, I arose to meet him at the door, and as I extended 
to him my hand, I said, with a smile, "Doctor, will you shake 
hands with me, this morning ?" 

Oh, yes yes most certainly," and at the same time took 
my hand and while he held it, I remarked in an undertone, 
with my eyes resting upon his hands, " Doctor, the Lord gave, 
and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the 
Lord!" 

After gazing at me in amazement for a few seconds, and 
saying by his manner, " what kind of material are you com- 
posed of?" at length he said, "Why, Mrs. Packard, your 
book is all safe." 

" Of course it is safe, in your hands, Dr. McFarland !" 

He then passed on, considering what ground his prisoner 
had for reposing so much confidence in her keeper, especially 
after he had proved so untrue and so unmanly to her. "Is 
she determined to make me worthy of trust by trusting me ?" 
thought he. 

Yes, so it was, and as I knew it to be a law of our nature 
that we are apt to become what we are taken to be, I knew 
the best way to make a man of this being, was to bestow up- 
on him the trust and confidence of a woman, hoping thus to 
inspire again the latent spark of manhood, which was now 
passing under another eclipse. 



THE CLOUDS DISPERSE 325 

The next time when he found me alone in my room, I ask- 
ed him to sit down and let us talk over matters a little. He 
did so, and I asked him the question, " Doctor, which is the 
most lady-like or christian-like act; to ruin a person, by ex- 
posing them without warning, or to warn them first, and thus 
give them a chance to escape the exposure, by repentance ?" 
Seeing the self-condemnation the answer involved, he chose 
silence, as the better part of valor this time. 

I then tried another question " Doctor, which would be 
the most chivalrous act, for a man to keep his promise to a 
lady whom he had promised to protect, or to take a defense- 
less woman, and by an act of might, lock her up in a room 
where she could not defend herself at all, and then rob her 
of all her valuables? Would it be a noble, and manly 
act, to treat a woman who had never harmed him, in this man- 
ner? Just make the case your own Doctor; supposing a man 
should take you from your office, and lead you into a room 
and lock you up, and then with secret keys should ransack your 
valuables, and all your private notes and papers of the greatest 
value to you, he should lay claims to as his own what would 
you call such an act ? "Would you think there was much 
honor to boast of in that kind of use of the power might gave 
him over your rights ?" 

Getting no replies, and choosing not to harrass my con- 
demned culprit too much, I next remarked, " Doctor, when I 
consider what a valuable soul there is to be redeemed in you, 
and then resolve to try one more effort to secure its safety, 
this passage is often presented to my mind, ' of some have 
compassion, making a difference: others save with fear; pull- 
ing them out of the fire.' But Doctor, I have to go so near 
the fire to get hold of you, that I get burnt myself, sometimes!" 

At this point he threw back his head and laughed outright, 
seeming not to know what to say, but by his looks and man- 
ner he seemed to say " you are an anomaly I cannot compre- 
hend." 

By a series of lectures of a similar character, this poor sin- 
ner was at length brought to see and realize the meanness of 



326 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the act, and with a feeling of self-abhorence and self-condem- 
nation, in about three weeks he was moved to send back my 
papers, unasked, with an apology for not having done so 
before ! 

He also withdrew his order to my attendants, to not let me 
have any writing materials whatever, and now ordered them 
to aid me in every possible way in granting me facilities for 
doing so. It was thus, under the auspices of a cloudless sky, 
I again resumed the delightful work of preparing " The Great 
Drama" for the press, and under the benign influence of a 
cloudless manhood Thenceforth pursued my onward way. 

The moral victory thus achieved, increased rather than 
diminished my spiritual freedom. The anxious Superintend- 
ent became satisfied that it was useless to try to confront me 
in the line of my duty. He saw that no policy but that of 
moral rectitude could secure my sanction that no fear, but 
the fear of sin, could conquer me into subjection to any hu- 
man power, so that this final conquest over the principles of 
despotic power brought his principles of selfish policy to a 
final end, so far as his treatment of me was concerned. I 
never could ask any man to treat me with more deferential 
respect than Dr. McFarland uniformly did from this time. 

And here let me credit to this man the compliment, I hon- 
estly think is his due, viz : that there are few men who are able 
to excel Dr. McFarland in his gentlemanly appearance when 
he feels disposed to assume the gentleman. 

Now every noble manly act of protection extended to me in 
the very respectful manner in which he bestowed it restored 
to me with renewed strength, such entire trust and confidence 
in his manhood, that I could say, "my heart is fixed," trust- 
ing in Dr. McFarland as my God appointed deliverer and pro- 
tector. 

I had no reason to feel, after these three long years of ab- 
solute desertion, that another man lived on earth who cared 
for my happiness, but Dr. McFarland Therefore in choosing 
him as my only earthly protector, I merely accepted of the 
destiny my friends and the State had assigned me, and in re- 



MY DISCHARGE. 327 

turn for this boon thus forced upon me, 1 willingly offered him 
a woman's heart of grateful love in return, as the only prize 
left me to bestow. 



LXXXIII. 
My Oldest Son Obtains My Discharge. 

Theophilus, my oldest son, had been anxiously waiting, 
now nearly three years, when he should be " of age," so he 
might liberate me from my confinement. He visited me four 
times during my incarceration, and had done all that lay in 
his power to do, to procure my discharge, although his father 
had forbid his visiting me at all, and had threatened to disin- 
herit him in case he should break this command. 

This same threat hung over my second son, I. W., also, but 
he, like his brother, chose rather to expose himself to be dis- 
inherited, rather than to suffer his mother to languish in her 
prison, without human sympathy. 

Cheering as it was to my fond heart to receive their true 
sympathy, it was saddening, also, to know that all and every 
effort they were making for my deliverance was abortive 
that no possible hope of relief could be expected through them 
until they were twenty-one. 

Their father, knowing their determination to help me to 
liberty as soon as they attained this age, tried to guard this 
avenue of escape, by negotiating with an Asylum in Massa- 
chusetts, to take me under their lock and key, hoping thus to 
elude their action. But ere this plan was consummated, Mr. 
Packard was notified by the Trustees that he mut remove mo 
in June. 

Theophilus not knowing of this arrangement, made appli- 
cation to his father to consent to his removing me from my 
prison, assuring him that if he would allow him this privilege, 
he would cheerfully support me himself, from his own hard 
earnings. Knowing he could not legally remove me without 



328 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

his father's consent, he made this proposal to induce him to do 
so, and his father knowing, too, that he must take me out 
soon at all events, consented to let him thus assume this re- 
sponsibility. 

Therefore, with a light heart, he sought his mother's cell 
for the fourth time, and was most politely introduced into my 
room by the Doctor as a "new man," just espousing the rights, 
privileges, and powers of an individual man, subject to no 
dictation but that of law and conscience. "Here," said he, 
"is a man who proposes to assume the responsibility of being 
your protector he has had his father's [consent to do so, and 
I have given him my own, and do hereby discharge you into 
the hands of this new man. Mrs. Packard, you are at liberty 
to go with your son where you please, and I do hereby dis- 
charge you into his hands." 

Thanking him, as the Superintendent, for this discharge, I 
begged the privilege of consulting B with him as our mutual 
friend, respecting the best course to be pursued. Said I, 
" You know, Doctor, that the law holds me still subject to my 
husband, and therefore my son has no legal power to protect 
my liberty only so far as his father's promise goes as its secu- 
rity. Now 1 have no confidence in that man's word or honor, 
and therefore I consider myself eminently exposed to be kid- 
napped again, and put into the Asylum, at Northampton; so 
that without some other guarantee of safety than his promise, 
I prefer to remain here until I can finish my book, which will 
take about six weeks, and then I can have a means of self- 
defense in my own hands, which I can use independent of any 
legal process. Now I must be boarded somewhere these six 
weeks ; why can not my son pay my board here, as well as 
any other place, and thus let me complete my book, unmolest- 
ed by any change until then?" 

The Doctor replied, "I see no objection to your doing so if 
your son has none." 

Theophilus replied, "I wish mother to do just as she thinks 
best, and I am satisfied." 

Accordingly it was decided, by the consent of all parties, 



MY REMOVAL. 329 

that I should remain there until my book was finished, and 
that my son should pay my board during this time. 

I then, as a boarder, not as a prisoner, accompanied my son 
on foot to Jacksonville, ( the Asylum being about one mile 
distant,) where we consulted printers, respecting the terms on 
which they would print my first volume bought some paper 
with my son's money, and returned to my boarding-house, but 
not to a prison, because I was not now an involuntary prison- 
er, although the bolts still confined me, with no key or pass 
of my own to unbolt them. 

In this sense, my prison life terminated four weeks before I 
was removed from the Asylum, and I really felt safer under 
the gallant protection of Dr. McFarland, than I could have 
then felt in any other situation. 



LXXXIY. 
The Trustees Force me into the hands of Mr. Packard. 

In about four weeks from the time of my discharge into the 
hands of my son, the Trustees counter ordered this Superin- 
tendent's action, and claimed me as their prisoner still, by or- 
dering me to be put into the custody of my husband on the 
18th of June, which time completed my three years term of 
false imprisonment I 

Although the Trustees had told me through their chairman, 
Mr. Brown, that I might do just as Dr. McFarland and I 
should think best, and although the Doctor had already dis- 
charged me, and he had agreed to the arrangements above 
mentioned, yet regardless of all these claims of honor and 
justice, they deliberately trampled my every right into the 
dust, and treated me as the law does, as a legal nonentity, 
whose rights no one is bound to respect. 

Yes, this is the respect which the'identity a woman in Ame- 
rica gets, by assuming the bonds of the marriage union I 
"When will the time arrive, when the marriage law will re- 
spect the identity of the woman as well as tbo man ? 



330 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

On the 17th of June, Doctor's orders were sent to my room, 
by Miss Sallie Summers, the Supervisoress, that " Mrs. Pack- 
ard's trunk must be taken out of her room and packed." 

Against this order I entered a protest in these words. " In 
the name of Illinois and as its citizen, I claim that mj right 
to the disposal of my own wardrobe be respected that no 
hands be laid upon it without my consent. I therefore forbid 
you or any other person disturbing me or my things, in my 
own hired room, until I consent to such interference." 

My reply was reported to the office. The next order was 
" If Mrs. Packard makes resistance, lock her in a screen- 
room !" 

To this order I replied, " I never offer physical resistance 
to the claims of might, over my inalienable rights but I give 
you no license or consent to touch one article in this room be- 
longing to myself." 

The Doctor then with the help of Miss Summers, searched 
my room, bed, toilet and drawers and took from them every 
thing belonging to me, and laid them into my trunk then 
the porter was ordered to take my trnnk into the Matron's 
room to be packed. This trunk now contained my entire 
book, journal and private papers, indeed all my treasures, 
even the sacred looking-glass wherein my Reproof to Dr. Mc- 
Farland, was concealed. "What would be their fate, I knew 
not. But thanks to the Power which held my usurpers, no 
article of my manuscripts was taken. 

The book was of course seen and examined, but my private 
journal was passed through their fingers unnoticed ; for the 
Matron and Supervisoress were only required to number the 
articles, and each article, large and small, being pinned up 
separately, it was not necessary to examine the center of each 
roll where lay a portion of this journal, which the Doctor so 
much dreaded. 

Nothing was taken except the inkstand Dr. Tenny had 
given me, and the package of note paper my son had bought 
for me. For this trespass, if not theft, I still hold the Insti- 
tution responsible, in addition to what had been previously 
takfn from me wronsfnlly. 



MY REMOVAL. 331 

Dr. McFarland showed the coward on this occasion, by del- 
egating his orders to Dr. Tenny, and availing himself of a 
leave of absence just at this time. I think he had better have 
faced the battle I instead of fleeing before he was pursued I 
However his orders were faithfully executed, even to the book's 
all being carefully packed, no part was missing ! 

Does not the Lord shut the mouth of lions so that they can- 
not hurt others when he pleases ? Did I not have a host fight- 
ing for me, although unseen to mortal eye? Yes, for so "the 
Lord encampeth about those who fear him and he delivereth 
them.' 1 

The next morning, Miss Summers, came with the order, that 
"MrsPackard must be suitably dressed by nine o'clock to go 
with her husband on board the cars." 

To this order I replied, "Miss Summers, I have no objection 
to being dressed to-day so as to suit the requirements of this 
mandate, even to the extent of wearing my bonnet and shawl 
suited to my traveling dress, and will do so with your assis- 
tance in bringing me those articles, but as to accompanying 
the said gentleman to the cars, I shall never consent to do 
this." 

She accordingly exchanged my morning wrapper, for my 
traveling dress, and packed my wrapper in my trunk. I then 
put on my hat and gloves and laying my sunshade across my 
lap, I sat down in my chair before the window and went to 
reading, as I had no other employment in consequence of the 
assault of the previous day. 

While thus employed, my door was suddenly and violently 
opened by Dr. Tenny, who, without knocking, or even ask- 
ing leave to enter, violently pushed the door against my bed- 
stead, which I had placed before it, as was my habitual prac- 
tice, to prevent intruders, having no other means of fasten- 
ing my door on the inside. I could easily move the bedstead 
back four inches, and thus respond to a rap almost as quickly 
as I could have turned a button or a bolt if I had had one, 
and I had done so to give the Doctors entrance hundreds of 
times. 



332 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

But now this hasty, uncivil entrance into a lady's private 
room by which my bedstead was pushed almost upon my feet, 
as it was forced diagonally across my room by the great and 
sudden violence of the door against it, and as it was opened 
I saw three stout men standing at the door almost frightened 
me, and having disobeyed no order, I wasjnota little surprised 
at Dr. Tenny's impetuosity on this occasion. I felt like say- 
ing to my captors as Christ did to his, " have ye come out 
against me as a thief, with swords and staves for to take 
me?" 

Dr. Tenny then said, " Mrs. Packard, your husband is in 
the office waiting to take you to the cars in the 'bus which is 
now waiting at the door. We wish you to go with us for 
that purpose." 

Looking at me for response, I.said, "Dr. Tenny, I shall not 
go with you for that purpose. And here in the presence of 
these witnesses, I claim a right to my own identity, and in 
the name of the laws of my country, I claim protection 
against this assault upon my personal rights. I claim a right 
to myself I claim a right to remain unmolested in my own 
hired room." 

Turning to his porters he said, " take Mrs. Packard up in 
your arms and carry her to the 'bus.' 1 

After instructing my new bodyguard how to construct the 
famous "saddle-seat" once more (an indispensable appendage to 
the enforcement of the " nonentity" principle of the common 
law, in cases where intelligence claims the recognition of an 
identity!) I quietly seated myself upon it, and after the at- 
tendants had, at my request, properly adjusted my clothing, I 
held myself again in readiness to be offered a sacrifice on the 
altar of unjust legislation to married women. 

My guard transported their "nonentity" safely down three 
long flights of stairs, preceded by Dr. Tenny, and followed by 
my female attendants, to the door of the 'bus, where the Rev. 
Mr. Packard stood holding the door back for the reception of 
this living burden of non-existence. 

Living burden of non-existence ! Married woman's legal 
position under a Christian government 1 



MY REMOVAL. 333 

Think ! Law -makers ! Is this the way to raise woman to 
a companionship with yourselves ? Do you think this Rev- 
erend husband, could look upon such a spectacle and feel the 
inspiration of reverence for a being whom the law thus placed 
in his absolute power ? or, would not a man of his organi- 
zation more naturally feel a contempt for the worm whom he 
could thus crush beneath his feet? 

Yes, a worm I a thing ! not a being is married woman be- 
fore the principles of common law. What wrongs cannot be 
inflicted upon woman on this principle? 

And what power of self-protection can she use in case of 
any assault and battery upon her person or her rights ? 

1 my gallant Brothers of this Republic 1 just place your- 
selves in my exact position, and from this standpoint, frame 
such laws as would meet your own case. Then your doting 
daughters will never be liable to suffer a similiar experi- 
ence. 

1 found other employees from the house had been appointed 
to accompany this Reverend gentleman to the depot, to assist 
him if necessary in the disposal of his "human chattel," and 
v/ith these gentlemen I held a conversation on our way to the 
depot. But with this Reverend, I did not deign to speak. 

I told these men I should not need their services any longer 
that I should go as any other unattended person did, into 
the cars, as I did not recognize the claims of this legal pro- 
tector a,z all, and should ignore them entirely, by holding no 
sort of fellowship whatever with him. Therefore I wished 
they would see that I was put on board and comfortably seat- 
ed, and I would excuse them from further duty. I could buy 
no ticket for I had no money. I told them I knew not where 
I was bound to, whether into another Asylum, a Poor-house, 
or a Penitentiary. No one deemed it necessary to inform a 
" nonentity," or a " chattel" in these matters, for this act 
might be an acknowledgment of aright of choice in a ''chat- 
tel/' which would be absurd, you know ! 

But from what my son had told me, I supposed he was go- 
ing to put me into an Insane Asylum at Northampton, Mass. 



834 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

for life, as a case of hopeless insanity. Indeed I knew that 
was his ultimate purpose concerning me, therefore it was, I 
did not willingly pass into the hands of this man, for this pur- 
pose. 

" GO WILLINGLY!" 

Written on the occasion of Dr. McFarland's saying that 
Mrs. Packard must be removed by force from the Asylum, in 
case she did not "go willingly." 

" Go Willingly/" to such a doom 1 
My God ! lay me in the tomb, 
Ere such a terrible decree 
Bind me again by lock and key. 

Where is the mother where the wife, 
Daughter or sister, who her life 
"Would " willingly" resign to thee, 
"Who thus would wield thy lock and key ? 

'* Go Wittingly /" my future life 
To battle in that stormy strife, 
Torture my fluttering heartstring there 
Amid the wailings of despair ? 

" Go Willingly /"to waste life's hours, 
Its aspirations, hopes and powers, 
To bury my affections there, 
In those dim haunts of black despair ? 

" Go Willingly!" to read my doom 
Thus graven on a living tomb, 
Where hope or joy can never come, 
Till death shall call the prisoner home ? 

I'd rather rove the world around, 
Chained like a criminal on ground 
. Where God's own sun my light would be, 
Without the aid of lock and key I 

" Go Wittingly " Thyself! and find, 
Cure of thy own " disordered" mind! 
The very willingness would be 
Proof of a fixed insanity. 

MRS. S. N. B. O. 



MY EEMOVAL. 385 

I was put into the Asylum without my choice or consent, I 
was thus removed without my consent, and contrary to my 
choice. In either case my identity was ignored, in that my 
right of choice is not recognized in either case. By my pro- 
test, I alone recognize it, and claim it, illegal as this claim is. 
Like the fugitive, I claim protection under the higher law, 
regardless of the claims of the lower law. 

My argument seemed to illuminate these gentlemen to see 
that my principles required me to resist the "nonentity" 
principle of the marriage law in this tangible manner, hoping 
thus to demonstrate its injustice to the comprehension of the 
law makers. 

This having now been openly done, I had nothing farther 
to do but to be passed on as coming events should indicate. 

I recollect one remark made by one of these attendants, 
was, " we shall miss you, Mrs. Packard, at the Asylum, for 
there never has been a person who has caused such a univer- 
sal sensation there, as you have. You will be missed at our 
dances also, for you are regarded as one of our best dancers I" 
I thanked him for the compliment, ill-deserved though it 
was. 

Before closing this chapter, I feel bound to say that the 
action of the Trustees in this case was far from being upright 
or gentlemanly. They had given me unqualified liberty to do 
as their Superintendent and I should agree to do. Their Su- 
perintendent had already discharged me. He had made a 
bona fide bargain, in presence of a witness, that I might use 
that room of the Institution as my hired room until I had 
finished my book. I was no longer subject to his, or the In- 
stitution's control, as a patient. Now to have these gentle- 
men ignore this business of their Superintendent in this sum- 
mary manner, and at my expense, seemed ungallant at least, 
if not unjust and illegal. 

Again, these gentlemen had in their hands, in my own hand- 
writing, a protest against being put into the hands of my hus- 
band, assuring them it would never be done by my own consent. 
They had also heard from my own lips my reasons for taking 



THE PRISONER S HIDDEN LIFE. 

this stand, and Mr. Brown, the chairman, had told me himself 
that he saw it was of no use for me to go tomj husband ; and 
yet, after all, he could issue this order to a boarder in the 
Asylum, that she must be forced into the hands of this her 
persecutor, just when the way seemed prepared for my deliv- 
erance, by means of my printed book. 

If my readers wish to know why the Superintendent was 
not on hand to defend the rights of his boarder, I must refer 
them to him for this answer, for he has never told me his rea- 
sons for doing so. Therefore, I can only offer you my own 
-conjectures on this point. I suspect this "young convert," 
was seized with another temptation to " backslide," too pow- 
erful for his " weak faith" to withstand, and therefore he had 
tried to throw off the responsibility of my removal on to the 
Trustees, hoping by this means to secure Mr. Packard's co- 
operation in destroying my book, without doing so directly 
himself, and wishing at the same time to retain my good will, 
he hoped his absence might better subserve all these ends 
than his presence. Therefore he made Dr. Tenny his agent 
in doing this mean work, by proxy. 

One reason for coming to this conclusion lies in the fact 
that after I got home I accidentally ascertained that the Doc- 
tor had advised Mr. Packard to burn my book and put me in- 
to another Asylum ; and he had volunteered his aid in doing 
so! I also accidentally found a letter from Dr. McParland 
wherein he says to Mr. Packard, I have laid your request for 
Mrs. Packard's re-admission before the Trustees, and have 
used my influence to have them consent to take her. But 
they decidedly refuse to do so, on the ground that the Insti- 
tution is not designed for such cases. In this same letter, he 
advised Mr. Packard to keep the facts of this transaction 
from all public prints, and shun all agitation of this subject 
in any form. 

Another evidence that he had slidden back into the old sel- 
fish " policy" principle is seen in the fact that a letter was read 
to my court at Kankakee, from Dr. McFarland, wherein he 
urged that I was insane, in the form of a certificate, which 



MY REMOVAL. 337 

Mr. Packard could use for my incarceration in another Asy- 
lum. This did not harmonize with the pledges he had given 
me in the Asylum that he would be the defender of my per- 
sonal liberty. 

Another evidence that he has backslidden, lies in the fact 
when I met him in June last, in Jacksonville before the State's 
Investigating Committee, at the Dunlap House, he made a 
most strenuous effort to make me out an insane person, for the 
purpose of invalidating my testimony as a witness against 
the evils of that Institution. After an examination and a 
cross-examination occupying nearly seven hours at a single 
session, with the aid of his attorney and the Trustees, he fail- 
ed entirely to produce this conviction on the minds of the 
audience, if Ex-Gov. Hoffman's testimony is a representation 
of others present which I have reason to think is the case ; 
said he to me at the close of this tedious session, "Mrs. 
Packard, I believe you to be a perfectly sane person, and 
moreover, I believe you always have been." 

Thanking him for the comfort this announcement gave me, 
I felt better fortified to meet a most cruel and wanton attack 
Dr. McFarland then made upon my moral character, while he 
knew, better than any other man, that my character was 
stainless. 

Looking at Dr. McFarland's character from these various 
standpoints, I am forced into the unwelcome conviction that 
he is a most unprincipled man, and on this ground is unworthy 
of confidence as a man. and much less as a public servant. 
I have done all I knew how to do to raise this man, from the 
low level of selfish policy to the higher platform of Christian 
principle ; but all in vain I now herewith pass him over in- 
to the power of that State, whose public servant he is, hoping 
and praying that this power may be able to do for this man's 
benefit what "woman's influence" has failed to accomplish. 
And if the State will not receive him, I then leave him with 
his own worst enemy I leave him with himself. 

If any of my readers wish to know what has been ray des- 
P 



338 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

tiny from the time of this discharge, I would refer them to 
my "Three Years Imprisonment for Religious Belief," where- 
in they will find this part of my experience delineated, afford- 
ing a fearful exhibition of the abuse of marital power, which 
every married woman is liable to suffer, in her present position 
of legal disability to defend herself. 

LXXXY. 

Jacksonville Insane Asylum a Type of other Insane 
Asylums. 

It was my original intention in compiling this volume, to 
include between its covers the statements of other competent 
witnesses, who have suffered a term of false imprisonment in 
Insane Asylums in other States, and thus demonstrate the fact 
that Jacksonville is no exception to the treatment generally 
bestowed in such Institutions. 

For this purpose, I had already obtained statements from 
highly educated individuals, occupying the first ranks in social 
position, and in public confidence, as men and women who 
are capable of defending their own sanity and the facts they 
testify to, before any legislature or impartial court, which I 
should esteem an honor to present to the public, did not the 
limits of this volume forbid it. 

These individual statements represent, 1st. The Insane 
Asylum of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia. 2nd. The McLean 
Insane Asylum at Boston, Mass. 3rd. The Retreat for the 
Insane, at Hartford, Ct. 4th. The Insane Asylum at Con- 
cord, N. H. 5th. The Insane Asylum at Columbus, Ohio. 
The representatives from these Institutions afford a most 
invincible argument, that the "Prisoner's Hidden Life" in all 
these Institutions, is but a type of what it is at Jacksonville, 
as herein delineated by myself and my coadjutors. 

I therefore infer from these representations, that this book 
fairly represents these Institutions wherever found. But if 
the public wish these documents printed in confirmation of 



NOTE OF THANKS. 339 

this assertion, I hold myself in readiness to meet this demand. 

I will also state that so far as my own observation extends, 
I have not in this volume presented one third part of the 
journal I kept while at Jacksonville, feeling confident that 
the full and ample report of the Investigating Committee 
renders my doing so superfluous. Thus having ample testi- 
mony on hand to confirm and authenticate what is already 
published, and having the Illinois Investigating Committee's 
Report to back up my statements already made, so far as the 
representation of Jacksonville Asylum is concerned, I can 
assure the public they need no longer be blinded in relation 
to the truth ; for in this volume they have the curtain view 
of one Asylum, and there is no reason to doubt but that this 
is a fair representation of others, generally. 

This being the case, the need of a universal and radical re- 
construction of principles in this department of humanitarian 
reform, is a self-evident fact, which should at once command 
the attention of every philanthropist. 

LXXXVI. 

A Note of Thanks to the Rail Road Companies, and 
the Press of Illinois. 

It is with feelings of sincere gratitude that I am permitted 
to acknowledge the favors so gallantly bestowed by the 
gentlemanly Superintendents of the Railroad Companies of 
Illinois, in passing me over their roads on ' Complimentary 
Tickets/' while in the performance of this public mission for 
the benefit of this State. I am happy to state that no Super- 
intendent has yet refused to give me a pass, but on the con- 
trary, all have passed me with the most cheerful promptness 
whenever I have made personal application for this favor. 

My grateful acknowledgements are also hereby tendered to 
the Hartford, New Haven, New York, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, 
Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railroad Companies, who passed 
me from Hartford to Chicago with equal cheerfulness, upon 
learning thr- object of my mission. 



840 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Indeed, special thanks are due the Superintendent at Hart- 
ford, who, self-moved, was the first to offer me such a favor, 
and who also gave me a letter of introduction to the New 
Haven Superintendent, recommending him to pass me to the 
New York Superintendent, and so on. By a sound and lucid 
argument, he convinced me of the reasonableness and propri- 
ety of asking such favors of public officers, while on a mission 
of public utility, prosecuted at my own expense, and working 
at the same time, without money and without price. 

To the Press of Illinois do I feel under special obligations 
for the aid they have so kindly and generously afforded me in 
the prosecution of my mission, by allowing the columns of the 
papers of the various parties and sects of this State, to be 
used in aid of this humanitarian cause. 

Both the Tribune, and the Times, of Chicago, have rendered 
me most valuable' service, thus demonstrating the pleasing 
fact, that both of the political parties of this State can unite 
in this cause of common philanthropy. 

The example of these noble pioneers has been followed by 
nearly all the other papers of Illinois, and thereby they are 
all deserving my most grateful thanks, which 1 do hereby 
freely bestow. 

I am under special obligations to the Springfield Register, 
for their efficient and timely aid, during the session of the 
legislature of 1867, by allowing their columns to be used as 
a means of bringing the need of this reform before that body, 
the result of which was the^appointment of the Investigating 
Committee. 



LXXXYII. 

An Appeal to the People of Illinois for a Redress of 
my Wrongs. 

It is the State of Illinois whom posterity will hold respon- 
sible for my false imprisonment, for it was under their laws 



AN APPEAL. 841 

this conspiracy was shielded. I have suffered the penalty- 
due the State, for licensing such a persecuting power against 
their defenseless married women. 

Because of being a married woman, I have been a defense- 
less victim of one of the most cruel religious persecutions the 
page of history has had to record; and so far as the law is 
concerned. I have still no right to the home from which I was 
so cruelly ejected eight years since. I am homeless simply 
because I choose to worship God according to the dictates of 
my own conscience, rather than my husband's ; and it is 
because my husband, instead of the government, has the con- 
trol of my personal identity, that this marital usurper has 
decreed that I shall never be allowed to have the guardianship 
of my own children, so long as I cherish my present views of 
truth and duty. 

This usurper says, " The home is mine by law, and I shall 
protect you in it, or drive you from it, just as my own sove- 
reign will dictates." He also says, " The children are allmme 
by law, and as their guardian, I shall not allow them to be 
contaminated by their mother's religious errors." 

I feel that I have been deeply wronged, and injured, by 
this usurpers power, and I now turn with woman's trusting 
confidence to the manly government of this Republic, and ask 
you to protect me in my home as my right that you protect 
me in the guardianship of my children, as my maternal right 
that you protect me in my right to worship God according 
to the dictates of my own conscience, without molestation 
from this marital power. 

I do not ask for the right of "secession' 1 from the marriage 
union I simply ask for the protection of my inalienable 
rights, as an individual, while in the union. 

And I stand not alone in these ranks of the persecuted. 
Nay, verily, I am only a single representative of a large class 
of married women in America, who are bound by these chains 
of married servitude, to a soul bondage worse than death. 
Now that the negro slave is emancipated, there is no citizen 
of this Republic, who is not legally protected in their right to 



842 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience 
except the married women of this free Republic! 

Many of this class have reason to fear from the bigotry and 
intolerance of their husbands their masters in law. Often 
has the remark been made to me by such sufferers, " Mrs. 
Packard, I believe just as you do, but I dare not utter my 
opinions for fear my husband will say I am insane, and then 
bring me before a Jury for trial, which will expose me also to 
imprisonment ! Therefore I am compelled to act the hypocrite 
and pretend to believe what I do not !" 

'Tis true the social rights of the married women are more 
imperilled than those of any other class for her identity is 
s~) merged, or lost in that of her husband, as to render her 
utterly helpless, by way of self-defense from this marital usur- 
pation. Now since the position of legal nonentity is an 
insuperable barrier to her receiving legal protection of her 
rights of religious belief, except it come through her husband, 
why will not our government emancipate us from our slavish 
position, so that we may be as well protected in the exercise 
of our religious belief, as our husbands are in their own? 

We do not ask this recognition of our individuality, or iden- 
tity for the purpose of usurping any of our husband's rights, 
but simply for the protection and defense of our own, from 
marital usurpation. 

My case demonstrates the sad truth, that there are cases 
where the husband does usurp the rights of the wife, instead 
of protecting them as his marriage vow requires him to do. 
Now what can be the harm in allowing the wives of such 
usurpers a legal right and power to defend themselves when 
needed ? 

Do you say that it gives the wife a double guard of defense 
the protection of the marital and legal power both? Yes, 
so it does, we admjt, and we grant too, that it is only in such 
extreme cases, like my own, that the wife needs legal defense 
from this marital power. But we do not like to be exposed 
to this liability. Such men need the force of law to compel 
them to protect their wives, for the higher law of manliness 



AN APPEAL. 343 

Clumbers within, and needs to be quickened into life and ac- 
tion by the lower law of human enactments. 

But the objector may say, "There is no need of law to pro- 
tect the married woman, for public sentiment will hold the 
husband to be true to his marriage vow, as the protectoi 
of his wife." Why then did not this influence hold my hus 
band to his responsibility in this respect? And why did no< 
the public deliver me out of my prison-house of unjust cap 
tivity ? Simply because there was no law back of thest 
influences to depend upon in making a defensive attack. 

Now had this power existed, my husband would not have 
dared to risk the attack, and thus the evil I have suffered, 
might have been prevented. It was my very defenselessness 
which tempted him to risk public sentiment, even when he 
knew it was against him, trusting to the law to shield him, 
in open defiance of this influence. 

Again the law is made for the exceptional cases; it is not 
intended for the masses, who area law unto themselves. For 
example, the penalties against theft are not made to restrain 
the masses, but the thieves of society the exceptions. These 
penalties do not imply that all are going to steal, but since 
some do, and will, even in defiance of the higher law, a hu- 
man law is needed for the restraint of this class. 

So in asking for the protection of law to the married woman, 
we do not imply that the masses of men need the force of law 
to compel them to protect their wives we only mean that 
there is, occasionally, an extreme case, where the marital 
power needs the restraint of the law for the protection of the 
wife's identity. Therefore, to meet these exceptional cases, 
we need a legal identity of our own, independent of our hus- 
bands. We must therefore, be emancipated, so that we can 
protect ourselves, as married women, in cases where our hus- 
bands will not prove true to the marriage vow. 

Rev. Theophilus Packard, one of Illinois Presbyterian 
clergy, is a guilty man Dr. Andrew McFarland, Illinois 
Superintendent of Jacksonville Insane Asylum, is a guilty 
man Trustees of Illinois State Asylum at Jacksonville, are 



344 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

guilty men and the State of Illinois has been ignorantly 
guilty in shielding all these criminal officials from punishment 
due them, for bringing such a deep stain upon the honor of 
their proud State. 

To this State do I, the representative of this deeply injur- 
ed class of Illinois citizens, now turn for an honorable redress 
of these wrongs. I do not ask you to punish these guilty 
conspirators, who by your own laws are guilty of no crime(!) 
in thus incarcerating one of her married women for religious 
belief. Therefore the avenging of these wrongs must be set- 
tled at a higher than an earthly tribunal. I have entered 
no prosecution against them, neither do I seek for such a re- 
dress. 

But all the redress I have already sought, has been 
most cheerfully granted by Illinois Legislature of 1867, in the 
passage of the " Personal Liberty Bill." To secure its pass- 
age has cost me eighteen months of toilsome labor in travel- 
ing throughout the limits of the State, to awaken the torpid, 
blinded public to the need of this reform. I have borne my 
own expenses on this mission, and have worked without ask- 
ing pay or charity. 

I have had many obstacles to overcome. My character 
has been assailed by those who ought to have defended it. 
But in the name of right and justice I have struggled on, de- 
termined that an upright course of self-sacrificing benevolence 
should silence the tongue of the slanderer, and put to shame 
all those who would defame my stainless character. 

It may perhaps under the circumstances, not be improper 
to state, that I have assumed pecuniary responsibilities which 
still demand a large share of energy and perseverance to 
meet. 

At about fifty years of age I have been compelled, in con- 
sequence of the unreasonable position the law assigns me 
as a married woman, to begin life's struggle alone, and unaided, 
having no other capital to depend npon, but my good health 
and education. "With the aid of this capital alone, I have 
paid the entire expense of printing and selling eighteen thou- 
sand books, by my own efforts entirely. 



AN APPEAL. 845 

Encouraged by the sale of my books, I have ventured to 
assume the responsibility contained in the following letter I 
dropped into the Post Office, on the 25th of Dec. 1866, 
directed to Rev. T. Packard, South Deerfield, Mass. 

A CHRISTMAS PRESENT. 

Whereas, in the Providence of God, my own dear family 
have become objects of charity, and are now dependent, eith- 
er upon public or private charity, for their support and edu- 
cation And whereas, by the favor and smiles of a kind 
Providence, my personal efforts to secure for myself a main- 
tenance have been so abundantly rewarded and successful, 
as not only to secure for myself a competency, but also justi- 
fies me, as I view it, in now assuming the pecuniary responsi- 
bilities of my own dear family. 

Therefore, in order that society and their friends be relieved 
of the burden of their support and education, I, the wife and 
mother of this family, do, hereby, of my own free will and 
choice, bestow upon my family, viz : Rev. T. Packard, 
Elizabeth, George, and Arthur Packard, this offer of a home, 
support and educational advantages, upon the following con- 
ditions viz : 

The property used for this purpose being the avails of my 
own hard labor, shall be retained in my own name, and shall 
thereby be subject to my own control. 

The. location of this home must be near some college, 
where males and females can both receive a collegiate educa- 
tion at the same institution. 

The State and Town where this home shall be located may 
be chosen by my family to whom this offer is made. 

It would be my decided wish and highest pleasure to make 
this home a home for myself also ; still I do not make this a 
condition of its acceptance, but willingly leave it to the de- 
cision of my family, whether this desire of my heart be 
granted or not. 

This offer, if accepted, can be bestowed upon my family 
by October, 1867. 

E. P. W. PACKARD. 



846 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Thus the thinking public can see the facts of my experi- 
ence demonstrate the truth, that a married woman is as ca- 
pable of self-support as a married man. Therefore, for a re- 
dress of my wrongs I now appeal to the people of Illinois for 
emancipation from 'my slavish position that of a legal nonenti- 
ty, or a non-existent being, to that of an entity, or existent 
being, before the law so that I, as a married woman, may 
be as well protected in my rights as a woman, as my husband 
is in his rights, as a man. 

Thus will Illinois become, as her honor now demands, the 
banner State in raising married women to that plane of ex- 
istence, which the intelligence of the nineteenth century de- 
mands. 

A Bill to this effect is to be presented to the Illinois Legis- 
lature of 1869, and may God grant that Illinois' stain may 
then be obliterated by the passage of this Bill. 



MRS. OLSEN'S NARRATIVE 



OF HER 



ONE YEAR'S IMPRISONMENT, 



AT 



Jacksonville Insane Asylum: 



WITH THE TESTIMONY Ol 



Mrs. Minard, Mrs. Shedd, Mrs. Vales, and Mrs. Lake, all 

corroborated by the Investigating Committee 

of the Legislature of Illinois. 



COLLECTED AND PUBLISHED 



BY MES. E. P. W. PACKAKD. 



CHICAGO: 
A. B. CASE, PRINTER, 189 MONROE ST. 

1868. 



Entered according te act of CODJWM A. D., 188$, by 

MRS. E. P. W. PACKARD, 
to MM Clerk'i office of the Dirt. Court for the Northern DUt of Illinoti 



A. B. Ciii, Printer, Chlono. 



MS. PACKARD'S COADJUTOR'S TESTIMONY, 

APPENDED TO HER OWN 

"PRISON LIFE." 



CONTENTS. 

Introduction, 9 

CHAPTER I. 
Reception at the Asylum, 11 

CHAPTER II. 
False Colors, 17 

CHAPTER III. 
Seventh Ward Experiences, 22 

CHAPTER IY. 
A Storm Approaching, 31 

CHAPTER V. 
Dangerous Experiments, 40 

CHAPTER VI. 
Breakers Ahead, 43 

CHAPTER VII. 
The Fifth Ward, 46 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Purgatorial Experiences, 55 

CHAPTER IX. 
Satan's Representative, 59 

CHAPTER X. 
The Resurrection, 64 

CHAPTER XI. 

The Reign of Terror, 73 

(5) 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XII. 
Reign of Terror ended, 77 

CHAPTER XIII. 
Wives and Husbands, 89 

CHAPTER XIV. 
The Insanity of Orthodoxy, 92 

CHAPTER XV. 
How to make Incurables, 97 

CHAPTER XVI. 
Departure of Mrs. Packard, 102 

CHAPTER XVII. 
My Departure, 106 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
Reports Visits of Trustees, 112 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Fallacies, 115 

CHAPTER XX. 
Influence of Insane Asylums upon their Victims, 118 

CHAPTER XXI. 
Testimony of Mrs. Sarah Minard, of St. Charles, 111. . . . 122 

CHAPTER XXII. 
Testimony of Mrs. T. F. Shedd, of Aurora, 111., 128 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
Testimony of Mrs. H. H. Yates, of Chicago, 111 133 

CHAPTER XXIV. 
Testimony of Mrs. C. E. Lake, of Aurora, 111., 136 



Note to the Reader. 

In publishing Mrs. Olsen's Narrative, I feel called upon to 
state some facts, which she has ( for reasons best known to 
herself) withheld in her statement. She states that she went 
of her own accord to the Asylum, and this fact is corroborated 
by the testimony of her family relatives. But why did she go 
at all? is a question the reader has, in my opinion, a right to 
know. Therefore I will take the responsibility of stating 
that it was because of the unreasonable and cruel treatment 
she was receiving from her insane husband, which treatment, 
for her husband's sake, she wished to conceal from the world. 
These influences led her to prefer going to the Asylum her- 
self, instead of consenting to his going, as had been proposed 
by some of her neighbors. And in the opinion of some, it 
may be considered as an insane act in Mrs. Olsen's thus offer- 
ing to go to the Insane Asylum tinder such circumstances. 
But Mrs. Olsen, being by her organization, one of the most 
benevolent and self-sacrificing of her sex, it was not, for her, 
an unnatural or insane act. 

Again, her sympathizing heart had long beat in unison 
with the sufferings of the insane, and she desired to look 



vni 

behind the curtain of Jacksonville Insane Asylum, to see for 
herself how the insane were treated there ; and therefore she 
consented to go on the terms stipulated in her narrative. 

It may be a satisfaction to the readers of this volume, to 
know that the facts here stated by my coadjutors have been 
authenticated and corroborated by the Illinois Investigating 
Committee, appointed by the Legislature of 1867, to investi- 
gate and report the result to the Governor, which they did on 
the second of December following. In this report, Mrs. 
Olsen, Mrs. Minard, Mrs. Shedd, myself and five others, are 
named as witnesses on whose testimony, in their opinion, the 
public may safely rely. 

MBS. E. P. W. PACKABD. 
Chicago, May, 1868. 



PART II. 
INTKODUCTOEY, 



" TRUTH is mighty and will prevail," says an old adage. 
Those who feel impelled by some strong moral motive, to 
express it, are often obliged to meet and combat errors and 
stern opposing influences. But the earnest advocates of 
truth will not be disheartened by such obstacles. They 
know that truth has in itself a vitality, a cogency, which 
though long suppressed, clouded by error, and opposed by 
its enemies, will yet by its own innate power, win its way 
to the ultimate recognition of all human intelligences. 

Impressed by these convictions, I have ventured to write 
this humble work for the public. In doing this, my object 
has been solely to exhibit and to diffuse the truth upon the 
now much contested subject of the " Insane Asylum of 
Illinois." In detailing my own experience and observation 
there, I have employed no artificial coloring. The pencil 
of the artist, and the graphic pen of the poet can be better 
employed than by attempting to heighten the color of scenes 
which need no painting. These scenes have been related 
just as they occurred before my eyes ; my own reflections 
having been given as they spontaneously arose. 

I spent more than a year there, and had the most ample 
opportunity to make observations in each of the female 
IA 



10 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

departments. There I saw the mild and peaceful, the wild 
and furious, the profane and indecent, and the wretched vic- 
tims of a cureless insanity caused by the indulgence of the 
most horrible vices. Twenty days I spent in the lowest pri- 
son, or, as they term it, the Fifth Ward, that universal, in- 
discriminate slaughter-house of human life, and of human 
affections ! Sickness, in all its terrible and most revolting 
forms, was witnessed in this abode of human woe. Death 
also there appeared, in the beautiful exemplifications of Chris- 
tian martyrdom, when the smile upon the heaven-illuminated 
features spoke only of forgiveness, peace, and love ! I saw 
the fearful work of death, too, in the suicidal hand ; which, 
prompted by the fears of a life more to be dreaded, cut short 
its brittle thread, and precipitated its miserable victim into 
an uncalled eternity. I have witnessed in the Lunatic 
"Asylum," the brightest specimens of human loveliness and 
beauty, the richest gems of thought ; illustrations of imper- 
ishable genius ; the triumph of soul and spirit over the mortal 
tenement, visions of unearthly beauty, records of undying 
affection, the most heroic self-abnegation over the most 
sublime fortitude and long enduring patience, all have 
here been indelibly engraved upon my memory and my 
heart. 

In the midst of such ample opportunities, and from such 
rich materials have these pages been compiled ; and perhaps 
I-need only add that my present convictions on the subject 
of Lunatic Asylums are not indebted to the influence either 
of prejudice or passion nor to any mental condition calculated 
to distort my vision or my judgement. 

This I trust will fully appear in the following pages, which 
are now respectfully submitted to the candid consideration 
of an enlightened public. 

MRS. SOPHIA N. B. OLSEN. 
Wheaton, DuPage, Co., Jan. 15, 1868. 



I. 

Reception at the Asylum. 

" I will a round unvarnished tale deliver." 

During the ever-memorable month of August, 1862, I had 
acquired from debilitated health, in consequence of long 
watching over my sick husband, and a -great variety of other 
duties pressing heavily upon me, a state of mind which he 
thought was either insanity, or bordering upon it. In conse- 
quence of nervous exhaustion, by this over-exertion, both 
my physical and mental condition had acquired an unusual 
degree of activity, such as often results by losing much 
sleep, accompanied by excessive trouble or mental anxiety. 
This was the only way in which my condition of mind at 
the time of which I speak, varied from its ordinary channel ; 
and rest and recuperation of health were all that was needed 
for my perfect restoration. My reasoning powers were not 
in the least impaired ; nor was I indisposed or incapacitated 
as to the performance of a single domestic or other duty. 

It was but a very few days after my husband had indicated 
his fears of my sanity leaving me, that he proposed our re- 
moval from Chicago to St. Paul, in Minnesota. In arranging 
for this, he left me to perform all the duties of taking care 
of our property and preparing to follow him. He thought 
best to go a few weeks in advance, and previously gave me 
many directions respecting the disposition of our domestic 
affairs ; to every one of which I diligently attended, scrupu- 
lously consulting his interest and pleasure in the most mi- 
nute particulars. 

(11) 



12 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

When he returned from St. Paul, in just one week, he 
found me confined in one of the city prisons in consequence 
of unfounded rumors originated by himself, of my assumed 
insanity ! This most cruel and unnecessary action was per- 
formed by one whose name, in mercy to himself and his family, 
I will spare, and in the absence from the city of all my rela- 
tions, except one who had no power to protect me from this 
most unexampled injustice. This nefarious business trans- 
pired, not because I had either done or attempted the least 
posible harm, but because it was feared that I might! 

This shows the state of feeling existing in consequence of 
a falsely educated public sentiment on this subject. A per- 
son is reported insane ; the first thing is to deprive him of all 
proper sympathy and of all human rights, lest he should injure 
some one 1 He is harmed, to keep others from being harmed; 
and very often too, upon the strength of some ungrounded 
suspicions promulgated by straggling reports. But it is 
hoped the day is not far distant when people will learn that 
it is better first to examine the facts of a case, instead of 
hastily acting upon flying rumors, when the dearest rights of 
human beings are at stake ; when they will also learn that 
prisons were made for criminals, and not for innocent and 
feeble women ! 

Instead of weeping or complaining or raving in my prison, 
as I think many less disciplined in the school of affliction 
would have done, I remained perfectly quiet and self-pos- 
sessed, calmly awaiting the hour of deliverance which I in- 
stinctively felt was near ; and in this tranquil condition, my 
husband found me the next day. The keys of the Armoiy 
were instantly turned in another direction. 

He had been cautioned to say but little to me, as I inferred 
from the mysterious taciturnity of his manner. He evidently 
thought my supposed malady would be increased by the " ex- 
citement" of conversation; and under the influence of this 
fear, forbore the proper means for investigation which would 
have dissipated his delusion at once. An open review of the 
facts would have elicited a correct understanding of affairs, and 



RECEPTION AT THE ASYLUM. IS 

made us mutually happy on the spot, instead of plunging us 
into all the losses, the sorrows and the sufferings which have 
subsequently resulted to us both. Rumors were soon circu- 
lated among my transient acquaintances to the effect that I 
was insane, and that arrangements were in progress to de- 
prive me of my liberty! It is remarkable that not a single 
person ever took the least pains to investigate the occasions 
for these rumors. Had they done so, far different would 
have been the result. But it is a fact, however inconsistent 
it may seem, that the very suspicion that a person is insane 
scares away cool reason from all his friends. Often with the 
merest trifle for a foundation, it is solemnly whispered from 
one to another, that "some one is insane!" The report cir- 
culates with every circumstance of exaggeration which the 
terrified imagination of the narrator can affix to the same, 
until it assumes a most terrible importance. The -accused is 
watched in every motion ; every look, every tone of the 
voice becomes an object of the severest espionage. Even 
the distress of mind all must feel when environed by such a 
crushing scrutiny, is construed into additional evidence of 
unmistakable mental derangement. Thus the suffering vic- 
tim of so much folly is worried, excited and hurried along 
through scenes of increased and repeated excitements, until 
the ever-hungry jaws of the Lunatic " Asylum" so called, 
are opened to complete the tragical drama. 

There were some circumstances which made me willing to 
go unresistingly to the "Asylum," but I did not wish to go aa 
a patient; but there were reasons of entirely another charac- 
ter, which will be developed in the course of my history, 
which reconciled me temporarily to go there. It may well 
be inferred that the circumstances from which could spring 
so singular a resolultion, were of an exceedingly afflictive 
character ; indeed such as to try every tender chord of wo- 
man's delicate nature. I watched myself with the severest 
scrutiny, to keep calm in this severe ordeal of my affliction, 
and strove to evince by my deportment, more than usual 
kindness and deference to those around me, and by attend- 



14 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

ing strictly to the performance of all my duties, to dissipate 
all prejudice. But it was too late; my single-handed efforts 
were unavailing. 

Our parting I shall not attempt to describe. We had 
lived together more than five years, during which it had ever 
been my study to promote his comfort, happiness, and inter- 
est by every way in my power, according to my best intelli- 
gence. He was dearer than my own ease or my own life; 
for his sake I had resigned the former, and nearly sacrificed 
the latter. And now for the first time, we were to be sepa- 
rated, by his own wishes, on the basis of suspicions that I was, 
or might become insane ! A dark cloud was over my spirit 
as I dimly foresaw the consequences to our future life of such 
a separation. It seemed as if all the fountains of grief I had 
ever experienced were now welling up anew to overwhelm 
me. He exhorted me to be of good courage, assured me our 
separation should be but transient, and promised to pray daily 
for our happy reunion. I draw a veil over our final scene of 
separation ; it is too sadly sacred for the world to gaze upon. 
We parted, and forever. 

He had employed my youngest brother to take me to the 
"Asylum ;" and when he left me in charge of the latter, and 
stood in the street bowing and waving, with his hat, his final 
adieus, it seemed that my very heart itself was left behind me. 
I could not now restrain the blistering tears which rolled 
in torrents down my face. My kind brother saw my emotion, 
and had the good sense not to speak to me, aware that words 
could prove but the veriest mockery of consolation. 

August 6th was the fatal day in which the formidable doors 
of that institution, the world calls an " Asylum," were locked 
upon me, and I found myself indeed a prisoner. Finding 
it inevitable, I submitted with cheerfulness. This submis- 
sion however was given under a very mistaken idea of the 
doom impending over me. 

It was understood by a special arrangement between my- 
self and the Superintendent, that I was to have a. comforta- 
ble room all the time ; free from the noise of turbulent pa- 



RECEPTION AT THE ASYLUM. 15 

tients, where I could write; and that I should enjoy an 
unrestricted epistolary correspondence with my husband and other 
friends all the time I remained there. How far the Doctor 
fulfilled his pledges, we shall see in the sequel. 

I was of course admitted to the Seventh, the most pleasant 
and highly privileged of all the wards. There my brother 
left me with my own consent, being assured in my presence, 
by the officers, that everything should be done for my com- 
fort and for the resuscitation of my exhausted health. 

I was now pleasantly initiated in what I supposed would 
be an "Asylum" to me in my weak and exhausted condition 
of body, and very cheerfully surrendered myself to the two 
attendants of that hall, both of whom appeared to be pleasant 
and amiable ladies. Firmly resolving to obey every rule of 
the institution, I candidly and kindly told Dr. McFarland 
this my determination. 

I particularly desired to make myself agreeable to my at- 
tendants, not only by sparing them all unnecessary trouble 
in attending to my wants, but by anticipating their own 
wishes, and rendering them unhesitating obedience in all 
their requirements of me. That I faithfully adhered to this 
resolution all the time I was in their hall, and that "I ever 
treated them respectfully and kindly, they did me the justice 
to bear me ample witness, a short time previous to my leav- 
ing the institution. It was my wish to convince my friends, 
especially my husband, that my industrious habits were not 
in the least impaired by my supposed "insanity/' There- 
fore, my next object was to obtain some yarn, which I wished 
to knit for myself, that being necessary ; next, for my hus- 
band, and after that, I wished to knit a quantity of hosiery 
for the soldiers. 

I supposed the matron, Mrs. McFarland, would be willing 
to sell yarn to me for these useful purposes; but in this I had 
made a mistake. Had I done this proposed knitting, and 
some other work I sought, it would have come into collision 
with some of their plans, one of which was to have me, as 
do most of their victims, work unpaid for the "Asylum;"or in 



16 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

case I would not willingly do this, (for no one is absolutely 
compelled to do so,) to exhibit me as an idle insane woman. 
This will be more fully shown in the progress of my narrative. 
I however obtained, though with much difficulty, yarn suf- 
ficient to knit for myself one pair of stockings, after which I 
could never persuade the matron to let me have any more. 

I assiduously cultivated the acquaintance of all the pa- 
tients; many of them were very amiable in manners, and of 
a high grade of intelligence ; and all, or nearly all, facile and 
ladylike in deportment, and easily won to conversation. 
They at once recognized a friend in me, and confided to me 
their tales of suffering, and much of their previous history. 
From my acquaintance with these most interesting people, I 
acquired a deeper knowledge of the human heart, and of hu- 
man experience than I had ever learned before. It is not 
superfluous to say that I found them all unhappy, except 
those who were expecting soon to leave the place. The 
rest were all extremely unreconciled to the fact of their be- 
ing forcibly detained in that place, when it was their choice 
to return to their homes. 

But my greatest unhappiness arose from my anxiety re- 
specting my husband. I knew, better than any one else, 
the peculiar bent of his mind, and how much he needed some 
one to soothe those agitations which I knew would occasion- 
ally sweep over his spirit. Who, like myself, could or would 
attempt to " hush the storm and soothe to peace?" Who 
should be the companion of his lonely hours? Who nurse 
and solace him in the trials of despondency and sickness, as 
I had ever delighted to do? Who would stand between him 
and the shafts of malice and evil tongues, and who, with 
tireless care, guard his happiness and life from all that could 
imperil the existence of either, as I had never ceased to do? 
Ah! these were queries which I could not solve. I could 
solace the disquietude of my mind only by daily committing 
him to the care of a merciful God, whose unslumbering eye 
is over all his children. This I never ceased to do, and thus 
found a balm for my deeply wounded spirit. 



FALSE COLORS. 17 

I kept constantly employed in reading, writing, and work 
ing, and in cultivating the acquaintance of my companions in 
bonds. An intense desire, and one which I never lost sight 
of, was to try to alleviate the sufferings of those around me. 
This field of labor had no limits. 



II 

False Colors. 

" It is a truth that must be told 
That all that glitters is not gold." 

For a few days, all went on very well with me. There 
was much to approve, and much that was calculated to im- 
press a stranger, for such I now was, favorably towards the 
Institution. Some of these appearances were the scrupulous 
cleanliness of the halls, and the ventilation, by means of 
many doors and windows. The beautiful domain of thorougly 
cultivated land, the ample expanse of flowers which ex- 
haled their rich fragrance in clouds of balmy perfume, caus- 
ing the immediate atmosphere outside the building, to be ex- 
ceedingly fragrant, and the whole scenery all but Paradisi- 
cal. 

I pass from this to another subject less pleasant, for my 
reader will remember that I am presenting life here as it is, 
and not as it ought to be. A few days after my admission, a 
lady came from the sewing room, and advancing with a very 
supercilious air, and a superabundance of smiles, said to me, 
"Darling, would you like to come with me, and a few other 
ladies, into the sewing room?" She was a foreigner, and had 
not learned the proper accent of English words, I understood 
her to say swing room, and then for the first time, discovered, 
as I supposed, that there was a place of amusement, a place 
indeed much needed. I gladly assented, but found to my 
surprise, that it was no place of amusement, but one of toil. 

The garments of the gentlemen, and some of the ladies 
who cannot make their own, are there manufactured. She 



18 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

invited me to take a seat, and presenting me with a part 
of a garment, began to instruct me how she wished me to 
proceed with it. Instead however of obeying her implicitly, 
as I always obeyed the attendants, I presumed to prefer that 
my own reason, instead of her commands, should be my 
teacher. I asked how much she paid the ladies who worked 
for her, and whether they worked by the piece, or by the 
hour, or how, or what were the conditions. I wished to as- 
certain respecting the terms, before consenting to work in 
her employ. Her replies were entirely evasive and ambigu- 
ous, leaving me however unequivocally to understand that 
we were to be paid only by the general advantage of work- 
ing to keep ourselves from the discomforts and miseries of 
idleness. But why can we not work for ourselves, and our 
families at home, said I? that would equally well keep our- 
selves from idleness, and benefit our friends at the same time. 
She evidently did not like the spirit of my queries, and re- 
ferred me to the fact that this was not a talking room but a 
sewing room. But I failed to see the advantages of working 
unpaid for others, while they were receiving the profits of 
such labor. Nor can I say that I have ever since become 
aware that it is either a privilege or a duty for an insane or 
a sane patient, to labor for a Superintendent without pay, 
while he already receives an enormous salary. 

But it appeared that this estimable lady did not trouble 
her busy mind with moral considerations. This was not in 
the programme of herduties. So, as I still hesitated, instead 
of going to work, she proceeded with all the logic of her elo- 
quent tongue, to inform me gravely that exercise was good 
for me; that I needed something "for amusement," etc. 
Poor Soul ! did she suppose she was giving me any informa- 
tion? I knew all these things long before she was born. 

But as she urged me very earnestly however, I civilly re- 
plied that if Mrs. McFarland. the matron required me to la- 
bor for the "Asylum" without pay, I was ready to do so, because 
I had voluntarily engaged to obey every rule of the Institu- 
tion ; but if this was not the case, I should certainly decline 



FALSE COLORS. 19 

the honor of thus giving away my services. Besides, I ad- 
ded, that I was a wife, and thought it my duty to labor for 
my own family rather than for strangers. 

On observing the cool and decided manner with which I 
uttered this, she persisted no longer, but opened the door and 
offered to escort me back to my ward. I told her I should 
like to remain while the other ladies remained. But a per- 
son who had uttered such obnoxious sentiments, in defence 
of natural rights, it cannot be supposed was allowed thus to 
do. Had I continued in thus expressing my ideas of justice, 
in the presence of the victims of injustice, it would not have 
encouraged their gratuitous toil. So I bowed to the ladies, 
wished them all good morning, and followed their task-mis- 
tress to my own ward. My readers may be sure that this 
most affectionate lady never again called me "darling!" 

I was however comparatively contented in this ward for a 
few weeks, while allowed to write to my friends, and never 
supposed that I was to stay there more than two months, 
unless I wished to do so, this being the distinct understand- 
ing when I went there. Dr. McFarland also expressly 
agreed to permit me an unrestricted epistolary communica- 
tion with my friends. I therefore never imagined that my 
letters were to be read by the Doctor and detained by him 
after such a sacred pledge, and when so much suffering of 
mind was the price of its breach. 

My husband had promised to write to me once a week at 
least; several weeks had passed, since I had received any 
tidings from him, I therefore began to suspect that my letters 
had never reached him, indeed that they had never left the 
"Asylum!" Several patients also had whispered to me, 
that the Doctor had intercepted their letters, which had 
caused them great anxiety and grief. I was surprised on 
hearing this, as I knew that he had caused much dissatisfac- 
tion while Superintendent in the New Hampshire "Asylum" 
for the same offence I believed, that seeing the trouble it 
gave, and also as it could not effect the least possible good, 
he would not here pursue his old course in thus disappoint- 



20 

ing and grieving those distressed and suffering minds, so sa- 
credly confided to his protection and compassion. The com- 
plaints by several, here alluded to, were confirmed by others, 
and upon closer inquiry, I at last discovered that it was only 
a privileged few who were allowed free communication with 
absent friends I 

This heartless Doctor never gave me any reasons for 
breaking his promise to me. He is not in the habit of giving 
reasons for his actions. 

This treatment, thus coolly violating a promise on which 
he knew I relied, was not calculated to allay the suffering 
of my mind, nor did it beget in me any respect or confidence 
in one who could thus deliberately falsify his own word. 
Many of the ladies in the Seventh ward, told me that was 
the way in which it had been his uniform practice to treat 
them, and that, though they confided in him at first, yet they 
had long since ceased to do so. "We don't pretend now," 
said more than one, '" to tell him our wishes. It is of no 
use. He don't care anything about us. He don't pretend 
to notice us, but goes right out of the hall as though we 
had not spoken to him." 

But it seemed to be a tacit understanding with all the la- 
dies in that ward, to conceal from him the profound contempt 
they felt for him. They therefore were usually respectful, 
though never candid in their demeanor to him ; thus being 
forced as a method of self protection, to use the resort of 
hypocrisy. This affords one illustration of the morality of 
Lunatic "Asylums." But I shall have occasion in future 
chapters to speak more at large of the influence of these in- 
stitutions upon the morals of their victims. 

Many of the ladies in this ward were so quiet, so industri- 
ous and ladylike, in short, so very much like other people, 
that I could not at all distinguish them except by the superi- 
ority of their patience and some other rare virtues, from the 
community outside. 

One evening a ball was held in another hall to which I was 
invited, I observed a very dignified and intelligent looking 



FALSE COLOES. 21 

gentleman, by whose appearance I inferred him to be one of 
the attendants. On being introduced to this gentleman I 
remarked. " I presume, Sir, you are one of the attendants ?" 
"No, I am not an attendant," he replied with emphasis. 
"But you are not a patient here," rejoined I, "surely you 
are not deprived of your liberty ?" " They call me a patient, 
he replied, but I do not call myself one, as nothing is done 
for my health." This was the late Mr. Wells, of Chicago, 
formerly editor and proprietor of a popular commercial paper 
in that city. He proceeded to speak very freely to me, 
while the rest were dancing. 

H* said he had been ill treated by a landlord, and that his 
indignation on the occasion had been construed into insanity, 
and that his wife being frightened, was influenced by others 
to take him to the "Asylum" where he had remained in a 
condition of great physical discomfort, and mental suffering. 
I asked him if he was not well treated by Dr. McFarland. 
He answered unhesitatingly in the negative, affirming that 
he was uniformly cold and frigid in his deportment to him. 
I endeavored to console him as well as I could, referring him 
to those general principles of justice, which I believed would 
ultimately be carried out, and work emancipation to all the 
suffering. I said nothing disrespectful of Dr. McFarland, 
as I did not wish to confirm the views of Mr. Wells, or add 
to his unpleasant, feelings in that direction; but said briefly 
all I could suggest in favor of the Doctor, reminding Mr. 
Wells how difficult it must be to do justice to every one, in 
a position involving such weighty responsibility. I cannot 
forget the look he gave me, as he turned away in apparent 
disgust. "If you are the apologist of McFarland and his 
iniquities, I don't covet your acquaintance," he exclaimed 
with much emphasis. I apologized for having inadvertently 
wounded his feelings, and quietly withdrew to another part 
of the hall. In the course of the evening, we met again. 
Feeling reluctant that he should have an erroneous impres- 
sion respecting my conversation, I made some bland remark 
about the festivity of the evening. Quite reinstated in his 



22 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

good humor, he replied very politely, and again we entered 
into conversation. I asked him if he did not dance on these 
occasions. "I have danced sometimes," he replied, but I 
shall never dance in these halls again. I cannot dance I 
am thinking of my lonely young wife my little babes, thus 
deprived of a father's protection, I am all but dying to see 
them." He spoke of his wife with the deepest tenderness ; 
said she was ever true and forever kind to him ; he did not 
at all blame her for his imprisonment, but severely blamed 
those who had been her advisors. "No," he repeated, as ho 
cast a rueful look again upon the dancers, "no, no; I shall 
never dance in these halls any more." 

Soon the ball was ended, I bade him good evening, and we 
parted. One week later another ball was held in the same 
hall, to which again a few of the patients myself included, 
were invited. I looked around for my friend, but looked in 
vain. Upon inquiring, I was informed that Mr. Wells was 
very sick. His prediction proved true ; he had indeed danced 
his last. Grief and suffering had brought on a disease, which 
could not be cured, at least by the cold ministrations of 
careless hirelings. They were dancing. He was dying! 



III. 

Seventh Ward Experiences. 

14 Full many a gem of purest ray serene 
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear ; 
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness in the desert air." 

GRAY'S ELEGY. 

A great interest was elicited by the patients in the "Asy- 
lum," by the sudden death of the highly respected Mr. "Wells, 
and many were the prayers that ascended for his deeply af- 
flicted family. Much sorrow was expressed that his wife 
was not sent for when he so much wished to see her. Some 
thanked God that our fellow sufferer was now free ; where 



SEVENTH WAED EXPEBINECES. 23 

his ears would not, like ours, be tortured with the daily 
grating of locks and keys ; others wished it had been their 
lot, instead of his, to die, rather than longer be afflicted with 
a doom worse than death that of dying by inches. Our 
friend was gone ; his eloquent voice forever hushed on earth! 

If my limits allowed, I should like to describe many of the 
ladies there, but this is impossible. They have drawn bright 
and ever enduring pictures upon my mind, pictures of vir- 
tues rarely equalled, never surpassed. Such industry, such 
long suffering patience, such forgiveness of injuries so in- 
flexible a regard for truth and honor I never saw outside 
that Institution. I will name but two examples in this hall, 
and I distinguish these from the rest, on account of their 
having suffered there so long. 

Mrs. Maria Chapman was a lady of unparalleled industry, 
and great refinement and dignity of character. She was a 
pattern of neatness and good order. It was truly refreshing 
to visit her room, of which she took the whole care. Never 
unemployed a moment, her ever busy fingers were always 
engaged with book, needle or pen. She commands universal 
respect. She has been there more than six years. I wished 
to know why this estimable and highly intelligent lady is ex- 
cluded from society. I asked her attendants in what her 
insanity consisted, but found them as uninformed as myself 
upon the subject, though she had been in this ward all the 
time. I believe however the crime for which she has lost 
her sacred liberty, is that of being a Swedenborgian 1 This 
I presume is ranked among the "popular delusions" to which 
Dr. McFarland refers in his most edifying " Seventh Bien- 
nial Report." But I only wish the sapient Doctor was as 
popularly deluded as she is, and then perhaps he might fol- 
low some of her good examples so nobly set before him in 
her lonely captivity. 

Of Mrs. Minard, of St. Charles, I could give a descrip- 
tion very similar to that of the amiable Mrs. Chapman. 
Mrs. Minard also was remarkable for her never ceasing in 
dustry, and for the truly elegant appearance, not only of b 



24 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

room and person, but of every work which passed through her 
skillful fingers. She did much sewing, and was often con- 
sulted in matters of taste, in fine needle work, by her attend- 
ants ; both of whom entertained for her a very great respect. 
She has been absent from her family nine years, and the 
crime for which it seems she ought to be excluded from civ- 
ilized society, and confined against her own wishes with the 
State's lunatics is, that she believes in the ministry of angels, 
or as some express it, Spiritualism I 

If all Spiritualists must be confined in " Lunatic Asylums," 
we shall soon want Uncle Sam to give us an unlimited quan- 
tity of Government land upon which to erect them I Poor 
Mrs. Minard ! my heart has ached for that lovely woman 
many times, as I beheld her placid countenance, and the 
premature marks of age upon her head, which grief, not years 
had caused, as day by day I witnessed her cheerful piety, 
her long suffering patience, and exemplary fortitude, I wished 
that many who enjoy all the blessings of which she is so un- 
justly deprived, could witness the same. I once asked her 
when she expected to go to the home of which she had often 
very freely spoken to me. "When the right Spiritual gov- 
erns Dr. McFarland," she replied. "But you seem very 
cheerful and even happy," I once ventured to say to her, as 
by her permission I had been examining her house-plants 
which she tended with daily care. "No," replied she, "do 
not imagine it; I am not happy, though I may seem cheer- 
ful. I am thinking of my family at St. Charles, and of my 
long separation from them. I have about concluded I shall 
never be permitted to go home. As for happiness, while in 
these circumstances, it is out of the question." Yet she, 
and I found the same true of Mrs. Chapman and several 
other ladies is so strictly conscientious, so fastidiously hon- 
orable, that they will use no clandestine measures to get 
away. 

They are wearing out their precious lives, waiting for their 
doors to be legally opened in short, as some of them express 
it, waiting for "the right spirits to reign," and when "the 



SEVENTH WARD EXPERIENCES. 25 

right spirits" do reign, it is my conviction as well as theirs, 
that they will all go home to liberty and happiness. Icha- 
bod, will then be inscribed upon the abandoned door posts of 
their psuedo "Asylum." Oh ignorance! how powerful thou 
art ! how canst thou persuade the friends of such, earth's 
loveliest spirits, thus to cast away the choicest treasures 
of their own homesteads? 

But it is time that I relate how I came to leave this the 
best, and by far the most highly privileged of all the wards 
in the Institution. 

I had become very unhappy in consequence of my ever in- 
creasing anxiety about my husband. He had told me, pre- 
vious to my leaving him, that he never could be happy till 
my return. I had as yet, received but one letter from him, 
and he said nothing about how he was prospering in all the 
details of our home life, in which I had so long been his only 
companion. In his letter he earnestly exhorted me to "put 
no trust in man," (this was sensible, for how can a wife trust 
in any man, when her own husband has forfeited her trust?) 
but to "trust in God," and "pray daily for the happy mo 
ment of our reunion." But that "reunion" was indefinite- 
ly protracted, and with no visible reason. "What was I now 
waiting for? To "be cured!" Cured of what? My opin- 
ions, my affections, my mental proclivities and peculiarities 
were without exception, the same as they had been,, allow- 
ance being made for the change in external circumstances. 
My executive faculties were suffering no impediment, save 
that of locks and keys, to their healthy normal action. All 
my time was industriously devoted to vigorous employment 
of some kind, except when confined to my bed by illness. 

After my declining to assist in the work-room was reported 
to Mrs. McFarland, the matron, she steadily refused to let 
me have any facilities (except a small quantity of yarn) with 
which to work for myself. Then the ladies of the ward 
(patients "jnsane" of course) knowing this, gave me many 
little pieces of their own garments, also needle and thread, 
with which to busy myself for amusement as I thought proper. 
2 



26 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

The kind and amiable Mrs. Minard was the first in these acts 
of kindness and sympathy. With these remnants, I care- 
fully constructed many articles for my own and my husband's 
comfort. Some of these with which I had spent much labor, 
were afterwards taken from me by stealth, and others by force, 
by the wildly insane of other wards, in which I was subsequent- 
ly confined. But I still retain several of the larger and 
more valuable articles, and value them much, reminding me 
as they constantly do, of the love and sympathy of my be- 
loved sisters in bonds. These pleasant employments were 
of much service in keeping away despondency. 

Time passed on, and I could in this ward have been com- 
paratively contented for a time, if my letters had not been 
intercepted, and if I could have slept at night. The Fifth 
and Sixth wards, immediately below the Seventh, were oc- 
cupied by the noisy and furious, and the screaming and raving 
of such at night were so plainly heard from the open win- 
dows, as to put quiet sleep out of the question. 

From this I suffered so much inconvenience, that at last, 
I mentioned it to the assistant, Dr. Tenny. He offered 
v-ery kindly to make a change of the patient in the Sixth 
ward, whose room was directly below mine, and to put her 
in another part of the hall, and a quiet person in her place. 
Reflecting a moment, I sincerely thanked Dr. Tenny, for his 
proposed kindness, but decidedly objected. "There may be 
other patients in that hall, even more feeble than myself. 
If you remove the noisy one who keeps me awake, nearer to 
their rooms, she may be liable to injure them in the same 
way. Now as I came here voluntarily, I ought bravely to face 
the effects of my own action, and with your permission, will 
persevere in doing it." This did not quite satisfy the Doctor, 
who urged in reply the duty devolving on me as a Christian 
to take the best possible care of my health, thus acting in 
concert with the best arrangements he was able to make for 
my comfort. Dr. Tenny further urged that since this ar- 
rangement was proposed by himself and not by me, if it did 
injure the other patients, the fault would not be mine. Bu< 



SEVENTH WARD EXPERINECES. 27 

I could not feel that I had any right to cause, by my selfish 
complaints, anything to be done that could possibly injure 
those sufferers, who, by this time, I could not help thinking, 
were sufficiently injured before. The Doctor desisted, and 
I prevailed. 

In a few days however, I began to think the reasonings of 
Dr. Tenny were better than my own. I had become so much 
enfeebled by want of sleep, that my health sunk rapidly. 
Violent and frequent headaches distressed me daily, and, as 
so much was going on all the time in the hall among so many, 
I could neither sleep, except a very little, either day or 
night. One night, after about three hour's sleep, I was 
awakened by a violent noise below. A voice directly un- 
der my open window, screamed out in tones of thunder 
"God d n McFarland's soul to hell!" This was several 
times repeated with terrific emphasis, with many similar 
expressions. 

The day after, I was again visited by my friend Dr. Tenny. 
Observing the unusual paleness of my face, he kindly in- 
quired for its cause. I told him with much reluctance, that 
I was now convinced of the propriety of some change, but 
could not bear to increase in any possible way the sufferings 
of the other patients. I wished him to give me some very 
powerful soporific to compel sleep even in the terrible noise. 
He declined doing this. Then he called and consulted one 
of my attendants ; the result was an arrangement for me to 
sleep in the dormitory, and try the result of such a change. 
The dormitory was small but had several beds in it. But as 
all who slept there were perfectly harmless in the daytime, 
I did not fear being locked up with them at night. I retired, 
and congratulated myself that Dr. Tenny's plan for my rest 
was the best that could be devised. I looked upon the pale 
quiet sleepers around me, and then fearlessly attempted for 
the first time in my life, to sleep locked up in a room with 
those the world calls "dangerous" and "unfit for society." 
But I had made a mistake in supposing rest possible there. 
In the middle of the night, one of the patients arose from 



28 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

her bed, and coming to mine by moon light, brandished her 
arms fiercely over my head, and looking very fierce, ex- 
claimed, "have you come here to kill me?" at the same time, 
she seized my person, firmly holding me in her grasp, as if 
she intended to kill me. Had this scene occurred in the day 
time, I should have had no fears; but being locked up with 
her, knowing her strength and my own weakness, I confess 
I did tremble for my safety. I dared not resist, nor make a 
noise, knowing she would be only the more dangerous, if she 
knew I was afraid of her. So I looked steadily and calmly 
into her face while yet in her grasp, saying in reply to her 
question if I intended to kill her "Oh no, not at all; I am 
not going to harm you; just look at me. I only came here 
to sleep to-night, I never hurt any body, and you don't either, 
do you?"' This somewhat pacified her; she withdrew her 
grasp from my person, but did not seem inclined to return to 
her bed. I knew not what to do, but finally told her I 
guessed she must have had the night-mare or she would not 
have thought any harm of me I added, u we had better go 
to sleep." This was intended to tranquilize her, but I knew 
my danger too well to go to sleep, and remained on the de- 
fensive till the door was unlocked, and much to my relief 
came the light of day. I informed the attendant of this 
night's experience, and Dr. Tenny never again proposed that 
I should sleep in the dormitory. This patient was soon re- 
moved from our hall, and Dr. Tenny, of whose sincere friend- 
ship for me I was now more than ever convinced, removed 
from below me the noisy patient. 

I now had a better opportunity to sleep than before. Yet 
as day by day, I still heard nothing from my friends, my nat- 
ural supposition was that some great calamity had occurred 
to them. I feared the worst, and did not restrain the ex- 
pression of these fears. Nor could I possibly solve the mys- 
tery of my being detained under such circumstances, I wished 
to know how my supposed insanity manifested itself to others; 
and respectfully questioned both my attendants, in reference 
to this matter. 



SEVENTH WARD EXPERIENCES. 29 

To the credit of these ladies, I will say that they both 
frankly and honestly confessed that, as yet, they had seen 
nothing in my appearance indicating insanity, or that wa3 
not both ladylike and kind. The names of these ladies were, 
Miss McElvie, and Miss Johnston. I was in the ward with 
them, in all, about four months, and I never found any fault 
with them, nor they with me, to my knowledge. On the oc- 
casion I now refer to, these ladies added to the testimony 
above alluded to, that I had always complied readily with 
their wishes, and given them no trouble. They further 
added that the business of deciding the sanity of the patients 
did not belong to them, and therefore politely begged of me 
not to apply to them for any information or assistance, that 
from their position, they had no power to give me. I felt 
grateful for so polite and frank an avowal of their feelings, 
and resolved more than ever, to treat them, as I had ever 
done, with deferential attention to their wishes. 

I wish here to say something respecting Mr. Jones, the 
Superintendent of the farm. The same honest avowal was 
made by that gentleman, as by these attendants. Mr. Jones 
frequently took the patients to ride, when they were per- 
mitted that luxury. He was always present at the balls, 
and often had occasion to come into our hall on errands. It 
was on these occasions that I became acquainted with him. 
He seemed to be much respected, indeed a general favorite in 
the "Asylum." Having had, on the occasions I have named, 
many interviews and brief conversations with him, I once 
ventured to ask him, if he had ever seen or suspected any 
insanity in me, or any irregularity or impropriety of deport- 
ment. He declared unhesitatingly, "No, I never have, 
Mrs. Olsen." On learning from me, that none of my friends 
had ever visited me, he expressed his conviction that if they 
were to see me as he saw me, they would have me removed 
without delay. I then asked him if he should feel free to ex- 
press that opinion, if he knew that Dr. McFarland would 
know it? He replied, in substance, "I am, indeed, in the 
employ of Dr. McFarland as an overseer of the "Asylum" 



30 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

farm, but I never sell my opinions or my conscience, either 
to him, or to any body else. I shall always respect myself, 
by freely expressing my honest convictions on all occasions." 
I exulted in the nobleness of his reply. 

Now as I daily saw to my unspeakable regret, and disap- 
poinment, that my communications were entirely intercepted 
from the outside world ; and that no one could be found, who 
either could or would explain to me why this was done; also 
when my garments, one after another, were literally robbed 
or stolen by some of the numerous servants through whose 
hands they were allowed to pass and that my health was 
greatly suffering, and moreover when I saw that all at- 
tempts I made by respectful remonstrance, for the allevia- 
tion of these disagreeable conditions, were not of the least 
avail, as the Doctor often would not take the least notice of 
what I said when a certainty of these things was forced 
upon me, Host all confidence in his -honor, his fidelity, and in 
his word I From that time, I ceased making any requests of 
him, as himself had thus taught me to do. He saw the change 
in my deportment, and though I continued coolly civil, when 
he deigned to notice me, there were no longer on my counte- 
nance my former indications of confidence in himself. He 
did not evidently intend to be "conquered by a woman." 
And I may add that this redoubtable M. D. was not " con- 
quered by a woman," and probably never will be; but I will 
venture the prediction that before he arrives to the end of 
his race, he will find himself both conquered and sadly 
whipped, not by a woman, nor by a " conspiracy of women," 
but by Dr. Andrew McParland himself. 



A STORM APPROACHING. 81 

IY. 
A storm approaching. 

"The combat deepens! on ye brave 1" 

All this time, with little interruption, I had reposed confi- 
dence in Dr. Tenny. I was glad to learn that he was from 
New Hampshire, since this fact would give me an opportunity 
to appeal to his local patriotism. "We had something in com- 
mon to remember, to venerate, to love, and about which we 
could converse. His native "Fatherland," its magnificent 
mountains, hills, rivers and forests were also my own ; mine 
too that wealth of thought suggested by their ever present 
and most precious memories. 

The peculiar educational influences of a New England 
life the Sabbath School all indeed that mark the experi- 
ence of a genuine Yankee, were dearly cherished by our 
memories alike. 

I learned from Dr. Tenny himself that I was the only pa- 
tient in the Asylum from New Hampshire. This fact also, I 
thought, would indicate to him, a peculiar reason why> in ab- 
sence of all other available friends, and thus sick and alone 
among strangers, he should be my especial protector and 
friend. This thought I once ventured to express to him, 
telling him that it was now impossible for me to have any 
confidence in the Superintendent. For this I explained the 
reasons to Dr. Tenny. I then procured the sacred promise 
of Dr. Tenny that he would not let McFarland know I had 
told him this. I added "Dr. Tenny, in view of all these facts 
I do most earnestly entreat that in all your influences over 
me as your patient, you will be governed by your own con- 
science, and not by that of the Superintendent. I will obey 
your commands in all things, on these conditions." 

Dr. Tenny ended this conversation by giving me some 
very good suggestions and advice. He added, "I will be 
your father, mother, sister, and brother, friend, and Doctor." 
I thanked him with the deepest sincerity for the kind words 



32 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

and tones thus uttered, and added "I hope I may prove 
worthy of your brotherly kindness and sympathy." 

I. had on every opportunity, intensely watched the deport- 
ment of this gentleman. I noticed how he looked upon and 
spoke to every patient, and also how they spoke of him in 
his absence ; in short, what impression his conduct was 
making on the minds over whom his influence and his power 
were so great. 

Continually presenting itself to my mind, was the great 
contrast between him and Dr. McFarland. This contrast 
amused, astonished and pleased me. I was daily astonished, 
even to amazement, that so good a man as I thought Doctor 
Tenny to be, could remain in the employ, and subject to the 
orders of Dr. McFarland. I had never known Dr. Tenny to 
tell falsehoods, or to trifle with the feelings of his patients, 
but found that he possessed almost universally, their respect 
and confidence. Polite and urbane in deportment, he also 
appeared to feel a deep sympathy for the sufferings around 
him. To the complaints and requests of those in his charge, 
he lent a listening ear, when not driven too severely by the 
pressure of his other duties. The Superintendent was 
often absent on long journeys, and there was no one else 
to assist Dr. Tenny in visiting the numerous body of 
sufferers, and this immense amount of labor was quite too 
much for one person. 

Indeed it was not the Superintendent, but his assistant, 
so far as I was ever able to see, that ever did any thing 
really beneficial for the patients. "Dr. Tenny does every- 
thing," "he does all the good there is done here," were ex- 
pressions very often made by the ladies of our ward. In- 
deed he it was who did all the duties, he led the choir at the 
chapel, and did many other duties. I noticed that whenever 
he visited the hall, every eye was raised with respect, and it 
was sometimes amusing to see how the patients would throng 
around him with solicitations and requests ; frequently so ob- 
structing his path, that he could hardly get out of the hall. 
On one of these occasions, one of the patients pleasantly 



A STORM APPROACHING. 33 

remarked. "We stall take you prisoner now, if you don't 
take care !" 

It cannot be supposed that after such demonstrations, I 
could ever be an unobservant spectator of the scenes around 
me. I did feel a sympathy with the patients now, more than 
ever, and as hypocrisy I think is not included in the list of 
my faults, could not forbear expressing that spontaneous 
sympathy, both by word and action. 

I had now " passed the Rubicon, and burned the bridge," 
and consequently felt more loudly called upon than ever to 
find out all the wrongs of these oppressed ones from their 
own lips, and my own silent observation. What was thus 
elicited, I noted down from time to time in a private journal, 
and this book is the result. 

My powerful enemy by this time had discovered that I was 
getting too intimate with some of the ladies who loved him as 
little as myself. Therefore, as in other wars, a prudent 
General sees it expedient, when practicable, to divide the 
enemy's battalions, in order to weaken their strength, so 
did our military commander now deem it for the interest of 
his campaign against the rights of psuedo "lunatics" to 
have me removed from this to a far less privileged and very 
disagreeable ward. Indeed it was now my doom to be con- 
ducted to the maniac's ward ! the abode of the filthy, the sui- 
cidal, the raving and the furious ! Dr. Tenny was assigned 
to do this ineffably mean business, as it appeared Dr. McFar- 
land could not look in my face and do it himself, after the 
promises he had made to my brother and to me that I should 
be protected from danger and taken care of. No complaint 
whatever, as I afterwards learned by my attendants, had been 
brought against me, and every one in the hall, both attend- 
ants and patients knew that I had always cheerfully obeyed 
not only every rule of the hall, but every wish of theattend- 
dants, and that I had been without exception exemplary and 
kind to them all. 

The attendants therefore looked much surprised when they 
learned that I was to leave the hall. Dr. Tenny, in an- 
2 



34 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

nouncing his errand to me, used the blandest words possible. 
He evidently wished he had not been assigned so unpleasant 
a task. But why then did you do this Dr. Tenny? You 
knew that you was doing wrong, for you had repeatedly 
promised me in private conversations, that so far as you had 
the management of me, you would be governed by your own 
conscience, and not by Dr. McFarland's. Now I 
make no apology for saying to you, Dr. Tenny, that in this 
action you was not governed by your own conscience and by 
the Golden Rule of Christ, as in my distress, you promised 
you would be ; no, your conscience never told you to add to 
the deep sorrows you knew that I was then suffering. You 
never felt that your duty to God impelled you to take me 
out of a comfortable hall, and put me into one where you 
knew that my feelings would be deeply lacerated and my 
feeble health still more enfeebled. You did this unjust and 
wicked action be.cause Dr. McFarlaud ordered you to do it, 
and because you lacked the moral courage to refuse doing an 
unjust thing at the risk of your losing your place. I knew 
you was making work for most bitter repentance, when the 
day of your retribution should come, and that God would 
surely, sooner or later bring Buffering in some way upon you 
for the same. 

What if, instead of punishing an innocent woman, because 
your employer told you to do so, you had stood up like a 
man, and a Christian, and said to him, "Dr. McParland, I 
have seen nothing, nor have I reason to believe there is any 
good cause, why Mrs. Olsen should be assigned to the maniac's 
ward. She has done nothing to my knowledge deserving 
punishment, on the other hand, she is herself a great sufferer; 
she has appealed to me for sympathy and protection here, far 
from her friends and among strangers, and I must give it, as 
I have promised. Doctor I cannot obey you, I cannot add 
*o the afflictions of this much suffering woman." 

Had you taken this noble, this Christian stand Dr. Tenny, 
your own conscience would have smiled upon you. All the 
good would have approved your action, and you would for- 



A STORM APPROACHING. 85 

ever after have been a happier man. What if the Superin- 
tendent had turned you out of your place for refusing obedi- 
ence to an unjust mandate? He could not have turned you 
out of your own approbation. He could not have excluded 
you from the kingdom of heaven. 

I have hitherto given you ample credit for all the good 
that I saw in you, but I must also be just to truth, and though 
it pains me much, I cannot help writing as I think justice de- 
mands. But I forgave you Dr. Tenny, and tried to think you 
a good man, though a weak one, even after this sad occur- 
rence. 

With this arrangement I complied, without resistance, of 
course, remembering my engagement to Dr. McFarland, that 
I would obey all the rules of the Asylum. 

I obtained permission of Dr. Tenny, to bid good bye to all 
the ladies in the hall. "You know," I remarked to him, "that 
I came into this hall like a lady, (not like a lunatic,) and in 
a decent lady-like manner I also wish to leave the hall. 
These ladies have become very dear to me by the sympathy 
and kindness they have invariably shown, and it pains me 
much to leave them. Yet I submit to the decree of the Su- 
perintendent." 

On my approaching them one by one to bid them good-bye, 
they looked surprised and sad as they saw that I, who had 
ever been peaceable and obedient, was now ordered to this 
fearful ward. One of them said to me, by way of consolation, 
"Well, you will have a chance to get acquainted with Mrs. 
Packard there." 

Mrs. Packard ! that dear name ! how little did I then know 
its import ! How my heart throbs even now, at the sweet, 
the golden memories inseparably blended with that beloved 
name ! This lovely, this angelic being r I cannot speak or 
think of with any common emotions, nor is it possible for mt; 
to describe her with any ordinary adjectives, this inestimable 
woman has proved to me the brightest star that ever shone 
around my dark path of life, since my lamented mother was 
laid away in her grave. 



36 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I must no longer now give vent to the spontaneous gushings 
of affection and gratitude which she has inspired ; for it would 
carry me off in a tangent from my proposed attempt to give 
my bird's eye view of the horrible ward to which this most 
lovely of her sex, in common with myself, was assigned. 

I will now introduce the reader to the highest part of the 
building, the Eighth Ward. 

Escorted by Dr. Tenny, I was by him politely introduced 
to one of my new attendants, Miss Belle Bailey. She im- 
pressed me quite favorably, seeming pleasant and kind. In 
deed I will do her the justice to say that I never saw her ap- 
pear otherwise to any one. 

The next person who drew my attention was one of the 
unmistakeably insane, Mrs. McElhany. She instantly ap- 
proached me, seized my dress, and attempted to raise it very 
rapidly, which of course made me shrink from her. I was 
astonished at this familiarity, but not alarmed, as Dr. Tenny 
sat down in the hall, and quietly made observations before 
leaving me. 

I learned subsequently, that this most unfortunate woman 
was the oldest patient in the Asylum I mean, had been 
there longer than any one eighteen years ever since the 
building was erected. I did not wonder that she was "an 
incurable" maniac. Yet she was sometimes quite amiable, 
often sensible and witty, but oftener quite the reverse. 

She had been taken out of her room that I might take her 
former place in it, and she did not appear to like the arrange- 
ment. Probably she thought me an intruder, as she would 
every day, for several days, walk very near the room, and. 
casting furious glances at me, would rave and talk, and swear 
very loudly. What annoyed me still more, was that she was 
very immodest in her expression and gestures ; and as I could 
neither quell nor divert her, I was obliged to endure the in- 
fliction. 

In this hall were about thirty persons of various degrees 
both of sanity and of insanity. Some were mild and peace- 
ful, others furious and raving; others deeply sad and silent 



A STORM APPROACHING. 37 

melancholies, while a few never spoke at all, or did any work 
or manifested the least interest in any thing. Some were 
sick, but were all mixed up with the well, without having any- 
proper attention paid to their wants. Some would persist 
in lying in bed though not apparently ill. When locked out 
of their rooms would lie upon the floor in the hall. Several 
were occasionally, exceedingly loud and ferocious, and while 
in this condition, it was unsafe to approach them. But I 
never feared any one in this hall, whatever might be their 
condition ; because my acquaintance with such people had 
already taught me how to render them harmless. 

I should like to present my reader with the deeply inter- 
esting histories of all these afflicted ones, but my limits for- 
bid. I did not at this time, remain in the Eighth ward, quite 
three weeks, but as I afterwards returned and spent nearly 
eight months there, I had, at the second time, a much better 
opportunity to become personally acquainted. Our privileges 
here were far more limited than in the Seventh ward. Our 
evenings were all spent in darkness, except when the moon 
gave us that light, denied by the puny civilization of "Lu- 
natic Asylums!" as we were all locked up into our respective 
rooms very soon after supper. We had our choice there, to 
sit up alone without light or fire, or to retire to our often 
sleepless beds, as we chose. These rooms were compara- 
tively unfurnished. A bed, with its indispensable appendages 
was all the furniture allotted to mine at first, but after a few 
days a chair was brought for my accommodation. 

No books, not even the bible were allowed here by the 
Superintendent, but the attendants sometimes lent me books of 
their own, under restrictions. Dr. Tenny however gave me 
a privilege, denied to all the rest viz: that of reading 
" Gibbon's Decline of the Roman Empire," a work I had 
never previously read. 

I did not feel disposed to complain of the deprivation of 
those privileges afforded by the Seventh ward ; I saw that 
the opportunity here afforded of studying a larger variety of 
mind would more than compensate the loss of my personal 



38 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

comforts. This being early in October, and the eveuinga 
long, I thought it better for my health not to retire directly 
after supper as did many of the rest ; when not feeling too 
ill, I preferred to sit up till about nine or ten o'clock before 
retiring. This I presume was as pleasant to me as it would 
be to any one else thus to be banished to solitude for no 
crime but that of an excessive devotion to my husband. But 
it would be folly to stop and complain of this. 

I always hated idleness, and much coveted employment in 
those long dark evenings, but I could not sew in darkness, 
and as Mrs. Packard had given me some nice yarn, I often 
amused myself by knitting. But darkness by no means im- 
plied silence in that ward, and some of the sounds I heard 
were agreeable. A few of my companions were pious, and 
used to sing in the darkness, very beautiful hymns, and often 
my ears would catch some very fine strains of poetry. Quite 
frequently, from the very forgiving, I heard prayers for their 
absent friends at home. These prayers from these persecuted 
victims of intolerance often brought tears to my eyes, so sub- 
limely did they demonstrate the power of the Christian faith 
to give hope and comfort, when external circumstances for- 
bade both. But it was oftener the case, that instead of 
hearing such delightful sounds, my ears were grated by 
"jarrings dire." I used to sit up for hours in darkness, to 
be entertained only by swearing, cursing, and still worse 
sounds from the vicious, in this ample hall. 

On such occasions, I could not fail to think of my friends 
at home, enjoying in social circles, the blessings of fire, light, 
companionship and liberty. I thought of my self- desolated 
husband too; "how," queried I, "is he spending his even- 
ings? What company does he prefer to mine, to cheer his 
loneliness? Is he thinking of me, as I of him?" 

" Do they miss me at home, do they miss me ?" 

I once heard a wife exclaim in unreproachful agony, "hus- 
band, may you never know the doom of sorrow and of woe, 
you have assigned to me, who once shared your pillow ! " 



STORM APPROACHING. 39 

Then she broke out into sobbing and loud weeping, with 
which, as it perfectly coincided with my own feelings, I could 
not help sympathizing. "We wept in concert, though sepa- 
rated by locks and keys. Did angels guard our husbands at 
home! if so, what kind of angels? 

One day I asked one of these banished ones, whom I had 
often heard lamenting the loss of her children, how many she 
had. "I do not know," replied she sadly, "two years ago, I 
had six lovely children. Oh, so beautiful, so obedient, so 
good ! I wish you could see them. I hear nothing from them. 
I feel afraid some of them are dead." This was no uncom- 
mon case ; many there have not been allowed to hear for 
many months from any of their friends, and the agony of 
mind thus caused, is not to be described. 

I repeat with emphasis, this neglect or refusal, on the part 
of the friends at home, increases to a most painful degree, 
the anxiety and suffering of their banished ones. They have 
affection, as well as outsiders ; it is a miserable delusion to 
assume that this is not the case. 

When thus neglected year after year as many are, they 
often come to the conclusion that their friends are dead, or 
what is still more agonizing, that they have forgotten or 
ceased to love them and often to this is added a fear, even 
yet more horrible that they have been reported as "incura- 
ables," and are destined to drag out the residue of their lives, 
and then die there ! When this last conviction, thus legiti- 
mately produced, takes possession of their minds, it rapidly 
accelerates the very condition they so much dread. Hope 
by degrees forsakes them ; they no longer make efforts for 
their own preservation a dreadful languor ensues, inducing 
irrecoverable prostration and exhaustion, till death at last 
ends the sad drama ! I have not the least doubt that this is 
a prominent cause of so many deaths occurring there. 

I wish here to mention that the deaths are kept secret as 
possible. The body is carried away in the night, with no 
funeral, and either sent home or buried in the "Asylum"' 
cemetery. In one of my walks, I counted eighty-seven 



10 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Craves in that little enclosure, which, on inquiry, I found 
iad all been dug in less than four years, though I had rea- 
son to believe that the great majority of those who die are 
lot buried there, but conveyed to their former homes, in 
iheir coffins. How great the number of those who go there 
:o find their "cure" in death, is more I imagine than is for 
;he interest of Dr. McFarland to make public. 

Then hurry on some cheap shroud hustle them into a 
;heap coffin don't stop for a funeral where are the mourn- 
;rs? Take them from their cells to the dead-room step quickly 
sut carefully make no noise go out in twilight when no 
>ne sees; throw up the turf with hasty spade and then by the 
irembling moonbeams aid, or " the lantern dimly burning" 
jury them darkly at dead of night !" No minister no weep- 
.ng no matter, they are insane! 

" Rattle their bones over the stones, 
They are lunatics that no one but ' Jesus ownsl' " 



V. 
Dangerous experiments. 

" Whoever injures a man, 
Binds all men to resistance." Dr. 

One day I saw a woman in a room adjacent to my own, who 
was a melancholic, sitting on the bare floor, sewing for the 
' workroom," and looking extremly dejected and hopeless. 
[ spoke to her, in the way I usually did to such, and coming 
juite near her, discovered that she had only one garment on. 
[t was a very clean pink calico dress, and her naked feet 
were drawn up under her body, closely as possible, trying to 
2jet a little warmth. It was late in the season, and tho 
weather cold and damp. I asked her why she did not wear 
suitable clothing. She replied, with great meekness, "they 
3o not give it to me, and I don't know as I ought to ask for 
it." I then asked her, why she sat on the cold floor, being 



DANGEROUS EXPERIMENTS. 41 

painted and uncarpeted, I thought it unsuitable for one so 
pale and sickly as herself. She replied, raising her eyes a 
little, but still sewing. "I haven't got any chair." 

I stepped into my own room, and brought my chair, offering 
to lend it. She objected, not wishing "to rob" me. "Oh, 
as to robbery," I replied, "I have no robbery to complain of; 
I am excused from working for the Institution, while it seems 
that you are not. I am better clothed, and don't need a 
chair so much as you do, for when I wish to sew or write, 
I can sit upon my bed." With evident reluctance, she at 
last accepted the loan of my chair. "Now you are not a cat, 
but a woman," said I, "sit up in a chair then, like a woman, 
and I will try to have them get your clothing for you." 

This lady Mrs. Gleason, of Chicago, was one of those 
extremely humble ones, who will give up their rights, be- 
cause they feel unworthy to enjoy them. On looking at her 
head, I discovered a very obvious necessity for a comb. 

"Why dont you comb your head? I think it might be 
useful." 

" Do you think it is right to kill any thing that lives?" 
faintly interrogated this almost crushed-to-death victim. 

"I think," replied I, "that if my head had become a pas- 
ture for such animals, I should kill them, soon as possible, 
without stopping to discuss the moral considerations." I 
said this with such a peculiar air and tone, that, in spite of 
herself, she actually stopped sewing, looked up from her 
work and half laughed. "Reason is not quite dead here, 
but it is evidently a good deal sick!" was my reflection. 

I reported her condition to her attendants, but had reason 
to repent having done so, as I was told it was "no business" 
of mine. I replied that, " it did not appear to be the business 
of any one to take care of Mrs. Gleason, as no one attended 
to her except to set her to work, and I never could see the 
defenceless suffer, without trying to defend them." 

One day I walked out, and by especial liberty, plucked a 
few flowers to carry to my room. On passing a window of 
the gentleman's "lower ward," I saw a pale gray-haired aged 



42 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

man, stretching out his thin hand, between his iron grates to 
me. ."How do you do ma'am?" said he, very respectfully, 
but in a weak and rather tremulous voice. "You have 
been getting flowers; Oh, how beautiful they do look I" 

"Yes father, do you never go out in the fresh air and get 
flowers!" 

"No," he replied sadly. 

What kind of a conscience, queried I, has he who thus 
can deprive an aged afflicted man from God's free gifts of air 
and the unbarred light of heaven? One too, whose "tedious 
days and nights of grief," are to be spent, like those of a 
criminal, within bolts and bars and prison walls? But no 
thought of this kind was expressed by me to him, but I cheer- 
fully gave him all my flowers. His look of joy and surprise, 
as tears glistened in his aged eyes, I shall never forget! His 
fervent ejaculation, "God bless you!" was answered on 
the spot; for I was more happy thus to afford one gleam of 
joy to the lonely heart of this pale sufferer, than if a shower 
of golden coins had fallen on my path for my possession. 

But again I had transgressed; again had been minding, 
I cannot say other people's since it was not other people's 
business ; had it been so, I should not have made it mine. 

Leaving my aged friend in rapture over his flowers, I hur- 
ried back to my hall. But I could not smother the boiling 
indignation with which I thought over this scene. I soon 
saw our protectress Mrs. Packard, at tea, and told her all 
about it. She said little, but from her intelligent eyes, I in- 
ferred that she thought I had gone too far for my own safety, 
in my demonstrations of sympathy for others. She was right; 
she knew better than I did, how far it would do to provoke 
our Superintendent by showing mercy to his suffering vic- 
tims. 

My health declined more rapidly here, than in the Seventh 
ward. It was impossible to have any refreshing sleep in the 
midst of so much noise, and in the sight of so much misery. 
My anxiety also increased to agony, as now a long time had 
elapsed since I had heard from homo. I entreated Mrs. Me- 



BBEAKEES AHEAD. 43 

Farland with tears of anguish. in the name of all that was 
sacred in human affections to intercede with her husband, 
to restrict his severity, and let me send one letter at least, 
to mine. She cooly turned to one of the attendants and re- 
marked "If Mrs. Olsen gets troublesome, I think she will 
have to go down." 

" Great God! what did I hear? Is it possible that a wo- 
man can thus treat my reasonable anxiety; has she no sym- 
pathy for my distress of mind? Will she punish me for the 
spontaneous expression of this suffering, by putting me down 
still lower in these gradations of torture? Can she think I 
do not suffer sufficiently in the maniac's ward? 

The expression "going down," here means something well 
understood by negro slaves a few years since, who were sent 
"down South to Georgia." 

Mrs. McFarland after this inhuman response to my en- 
treaties, very suddenly rose and walked to the door. Before 
she had time to unlock it, I had quietly followed her, for see- 
ing her still unrelenting,! could not restrain my weeping; it 
burst out in spite of myself. I promised the most perfect 
obedience to her own and the Doctor's slightest request of 
me so long as I remained, if she would persuade him to let 
me send just one letter home. I told her they might both 
read my letter, and they should see that I would not find 
fault or reproach them, &c. But she deigned no more re- 
plies, but pushed through the door slamming it heavily into 
my face, I sank powerless on the floor, in unutterable, silent, 
intense agony. 

VI. 
Breakers Ahead. 

" But where's the passage to the skies ? 
The road through death's black valley lies." 

In all my bitter experience at the Asylum, I never 
thought myself excused from duty. Though by a most 



44 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

calamitous series of misfortunes, cut off from the exercise 
of my social duties at home, and deprived of all society that 
had power to remove or abate my sufferings, yet I could not 
but see, all around me, the most irresistible calls for my 
sympathy and assistance. I could not sit idly dreaming, 
while so many were crying, with tearful eyes, "Oh, can not 
you do something for me?" I could not but respond to such 
thrilling calls, wi'.hout ignoring every obligation which 
allied me to humanity. Here, indeed, was an open field; 
an opportunity I had long coveted, of trying to do good. 

I now proceed to relate how I came to be again degraded; 
or in other words, "put down." 

One afternoon, as Mrs. Packard was returning to her own 
hall in the same ward, I followed her in the public entry, a 
step or two, wishing to speak to her. I had not the slightest 
idea of giving offence to any one, or overstepping the bounds 
of my liberty. All of a sudden, Miss Mary Bailey, one of 
my attendants, came to me, and violently catching hold of 
my dress, dragged me away from Mrs. Packard. In utter 
astonishment, I asked Miss Bailey why she did this. 

"You needn't speak to Mrs. Packard." 

"But I was saying no harm whatever; and as the rest all 
speak to her, I supposed I had equal privileges. Why is 
this distinction made?" 

She gave me no explanation whatever, but used insulting 
and abusive language, and on several occasions after this, 
dragged me about from room to room, as though I were a bag 
of potatoes, or some other commodity of mercenary specula- 
tion. Indeed I think I was a commodity of mercenary 
speculation. 

Soon after this, there was a ball announced. I had 
always been allowed to attend the balls indeed, freely 
invited ; and not to my knowledge, had the Superintendent 
ever given orders to the contrary. I was not a dancer, but 
was very fond of attending those balls, because they afforded 
an opportunity to see much pleasant company from all the 
wards, and gave us a temporary diversion from our scenes of 



BREAKERS AHEAD. 45 

strife and misery. But on this occasion, Miss Bailey ordered 
me to "go to bed," while some of the ladies -were engaged 
in preparing to go to the ball. I, of course, demurred ; she 
caught me with fierce violence, dragged me to my room, and 
locked the door. I was astonished, for I had always treated 
her well, and with the kindest deference to her wishes. Her 
sister had never treated me ill, and I could not imagine why 
she should. I reflected a moment; then feeling that I could 
not endure such injustice, I said to her, in a pretty decided 
tone, through my lock and key: 

''Mary Bailey, you know I have always been peaceable 
and kind to every one in the hall, both patients and attend- 
ants. I have daily assisted you in your duties gratuitously. 
I have taken the whole care of myself and of my room, and, 
even more than I have been able, have assisted others in 
their toils, and you are paid for the same. I have never 
been either disrespectful or unkind to any one, but always 
the reverse, as you well know. But you are daily abusing 
me, and treating me in a heartless manner. You have even 
torn my clothing, and I shall never mend it till I have shown 
it to Dr. Tenny, or to some of the State authorities. And 
now you are presuming to deprive me of privileges that I 
have always been allowed, and have never forfeited. Mary, 
I have borne your insolence till I can bear it no longer, and 
I am resolved to expose you; if within three days you do not 
apologise for this abuse, and atone for it by better conduct, 
I will make public the abuse you have shown to me." 

Miss Bailey did not make any reply, though I had undoubt- 
edly made myself heard. This was my first collision with 
an attendant. The next day I atoned for the speech I had 
made. She had reported me to Dr. McFarland, as an "un- 
manageable, mischief-making patient." On the strength of 
this edifying intelligence to that dignitary, he, without at 
all examining the matter, ordered Dr. Tenny to put me 
down into the lowest prison, or Fifth ward ! 

I had previously expressed a wish to Mrs. McFarland, to 
go and visit that ward, in order to become acquainted with 



46 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

its management. Her reply was very remarkable, and for a 
very especial reason, I wish the reader to remember and 
mark it. 

"The Fifth ward," said she, "is very well managed. "We 
have only females to take charge of the patients. They are 
very good girls, and take good care of them." 

How these "very good girls" took care of their responsi- 
bilities, will appear in my next chapter. 



VII. 
The Fifth Ward. 

' Hail horrors ! hail 'infernal world 1" 

If the inhabitants of the Twentieth century should ever 
have the real condition of this terrible prison described as it 
now exists, and be informed of the purposes to which it is ap- 
plied, they will not only see the perfect propriety of my 
quotation at the head of this chapter, but will regard this 
prison with the same feelings as we now do the Spanish In- 
quisition and its abettors and apologists. 

As, under the guidance of the ill-fated Dr. Tenny, I de- 
scended the three long nights of stairs leading to this charnel 
house of human woe, I felt a dizzy heart-sickness which al- 
most deprived me of the power of articulation. Was it a 
prescience of those " coming events," which "cast their 
shadows before," that affected me thus? I could not tell, 
but was only conscious of a faintness and weakness which 
nearly deprived me of the power of locomotion. I asked Dr. 
Tenny to give me a formal introduction to the attendant, 
having never seen her. He complied, and though her counte- 
nance had an expression of stern repulsiveness, I determined, 
if there was any goodness in her, to find it out. I would, by 
the patience and assiduous kindness of my own deportment, 
awaken and develop all of goodness and humanity that 



THE FIFTH WARD. 47 

might possibly be found smouldering beneath the icy surface 
of her heart. 

Perceiving that she was Irish, I remarked " Oh, you are an 
Irish lady ; I love the Irish dearly ; many of them have 
shown me much kindness. I know your people are kind- 
hearted. "Well, you may be sure that I shall give you no 
trouble. I always obey the rules, and try to help my attend- 
ants ; indeed, Miss Bonner, I think you must have much 
work to do here, with so many to take care of, and perhaps 
I may be able to assist you some in your labor." 

I thus attempted to conciliate, and enlist her kind feelings. 
But slander and hatred had taken fearfully the start of me. 
She replied, as I had said I should give her no trouble, "In- 
deed yee'd better not make me any trouble, it won't be well 
fur ye if ye do." 

I confess I was "taken back a few miles 1" 

She continued, "yee's no better'n the rest on em; yee'r 
all jist alike here, un ye needn't ixpict iny better treat- 
ment un the rest on um git. Now ye jist set down (pointing 
to a hard stationary bench) un mind yer business. Yer the 
wust un the crazyest on em all in the hull Institution ; yees 
a nuisance." 

After this most amiable delivery, she stopped to take 
breath, and fearing she might again start on a fresh "heat," 
I immediately obeyed her, by sitting down in silence on the 
bench she had assigned me. I began to doubt my power 
over the insane. Here indeed I saw "the insane " without 
mistake, but I then thought, and never afterwards changed 
my opinion, that Lizzy Bonner was more insane than 
any one in her care ! I did not fear them, with all their 
fury ; but I confess I did fear her, with her much wilder fury ! 
I had always some expedient by which I could easily disarm 
her very wildest maniacs, but I never could disarm or tame 
their far more ferocious keeper ? 

Beside me, sitting, or rather crouching on the same bench,' 
were a few silent and very filthy women, with their one gar- 
ment indecently torn, and a puddle of unfragrant water on 



4:8 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the floor under their feet. Some, in more remote parts of 
the hall, were screaming fearfully, at which I did not wonder. 
If I had been a screamer, or at all nervous, I should doubt 
less have swelled the concert, so full was this pandemonium 
of every imaginable horror 1 

The faces of many were frightfully blackened by blows, 
received, partly from each other in their internecine conflicts, 
but mostly, I subsequently discovered by their attendants ! 
One very fat old woman who could not speak in English, was 
sitting on the floor with a perfectly idiotic expression upon 
her face. One pale girl sat weeping bitterly, and shivering 
upon a bench with very thin clothing. Several were silent 
and appeared to take no notice of anything. These were 
melancholies in nearly the last stages of despair. One, in 
quite the last stage, as I inferred, was tied to her hard bench 
with her arms and chest tightly confined by a straight jacket, 
and attempting to commit suicide by fiercely beating her 
head back against the wall. The sight of this poor young 
female, in her frantic attempts to rush from an obvious hell 
into the untried scenes of an undiscovered future, was too 
appalling for me to gaze upon. I turned away my eyes with 
a sick horror, but still heard her pounding her bruised head. 

No one here was working, for all capable of being made to 
work, were at this time engaged in some of the numerous 
toiling departments of the establishment. Some were lying 
on the floor, exhibiting the most indescribably indecent ap- 
pearances. 

The windows were all open ; I was shivering with cold, 
being at this time, in the incipient stages of fever and ague. 
This disease was probably acquired by inhaling the "me 
phitic exhalations" of the Eighth ward. I drew my woolen 
shawl closely about my person, covering my head and eyes, 
from these terrific sights and sounds, and sat in dumb amaze- 
ment. Is this, I silently ejaculated, the destiny to which 
,1 am doomed for an indefinite period ? Oh, the insufferable 
anguish of those moments of horror ! Language cannot por- 
tray it; it is utterly powerless. Every faculty of mind was 



THE FIFTH WAKD. 49 

intensified to the utmost, in those few moments of dumb tear- 
less agony. It seemed as if my palsied heart must cease its 
beating. The past, the present, and the future all appeared 
in startling imagery before my spirit's eagle gaze, and the 
burning lines of Byron rose up uncalled, before my contem- 
olation. 

" Feel I not wroth with those who placed me here 

In this vast 1 azar house of many woes? 

"Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the mind, 

Nor words a language, nor ev'n men mankind: 

Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to blows, 

And each is tortured in his separate hall 

For we are crowded in our solitudes 

Many, but each divided by a wall, 

"Which echoes Madness in her babbling moods ; 

"While all can hear, none heed his neighbor's call 

None, save that one, the veriest wretch of all, 

Who was not made to be the mate of these. 

Feel I not wroth with those who placed me here ? 

Who have debased me in the minds of men, 

Debarring me the usage of my own, 

Blighting my life in best of its career, 

Branding my thoughts as things to shun and fear ? 

Would I not pay them back these pangs again, 

And teach them inward sorrow's stifled groan ? 

The struggle to be calm ?" 

"Lament of Tasso" by BYRON. 

Yes I did "struggle to be calm," and succeeded, in out- 
side appearance, but "the iron entered into my soul," and 
still remains there. Oh, Mary Bailey ! Dr. McFarland ! 
If there is a just God, be sure that before you die, there is 
retributive sorrow in store for you, for the infliction of this un- 
provoked abuse upon one who never even attempted to injure 
you ! Is it thus, proceeded my torturing queries, that I 
am rewarded, for having on all occasions here been the pro- 
moter of good order, of truth, and of peace for having so 
often restrained the fury of the unmanageable, supported the 
weak, and tried at least to "comfort the mourner?" Is this 
3 



50 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

the way in which the Superintendent of this "Asylum" ful- 
fils his promises? If, as alleged, I am a victim of insanity, 
is this the way to cure it ? No, no ; and a thought of agony, 
such as words can never describe, shot like burning electricity 
through my paralyzed frame, "no, this is the way to make 
people insane, this is the way my tormentor has planned to 
make me insane." 

At this crisis of advancing despair, hope suddenly came, 
and the inflexibly just poetry of Lord Byron was superseded 
by an extract of one of a more forgiving and tranquilizing 
tone 

" Let not despair nor fell revenge, 
Be to thy bosom known ; 
Oh, give me tears for other's woes, 
And patience for my own." 

Here indeed were plenty of " others' woes," and plenty 
of "tears' 1 in reserve for me to shed over them! "Fear 
not," again whispered a sweet, secret voice, "when thou 
passest through the waters, they shall not overflow thee." 
"Yes, I will trust in God, there is now no one else to trust. 
Even Dr. Tenny has deserted me, I am indeed abandoned 
by every one on earth. But I will not sink, I will not die 
here; I will by virtue of the sublime omnipotence of will, con- 
quer my enemies and retain my sanity, and self-possession 
too ! Galileo did not die in his prison ; he said of the 
world "it still moves," and I know the world moves, and 
will yet move me to a better destiny. I cherished these con- 
soling suggestions, ascribing them to him, from whom cometh 
"every good and every perfect gift." 

But these pleasing and joyous contemplations were soon 
interrupted by the coarse voice of Bonner, screaming loudly 
from the opposite end of the long hall. She was obliged .to 
scream very loudly, in order to be heard above the rest of 
the screamers, "Miss Coalspit, come here." 

Not supposing myself addressed, I did not move from my 
,at; she repeated, " Miss Coalspit I tell ye come here !" 

Still I moved not. and began to wonder that neither did 



THE FIFTH WARD. 61 

any oue else, in obedience to this imperative mandate. Ob- 
serving me still motionless, she yelled out yet more furiously, 
'You woman that's a settin there, with yer shawl all over 
yer head, I tell ye come here this minute." 

This last was a " trumpet" with no -" uncertain sound 1" 
I rose immediately, walked down the hall to where she was 
standing, and said in a low voice " Excuse me, Miss Bonner, 
I did not know you addressed me, as my name is not Miss 
Coalspit, but Mrs. Olsen." 

"We call folks anything here, jest as happens; we don't 
stan' about bein' polite here to any on yees," she replied in 
a stormy voice. 

So I perceive, but for myself, you will please excuse 
me from following this fashion. I have no more politeness 
than I need, I cannot dispense with any, but must use all I 
have, as I perceive politeness is rather needed here; what do 
you wish of me Miss Bonner ?" 

" I wish ye to take off that are shawl, ye don't need it 
here ; the rest on em don't wear shawls, un you shan't." 

"I am very cold have taken the fever and ague, the chills 
are upon me now, and I fear sitting still with the windows 
open, as you say I must do, would in this very damp air, 
cause me to take cold ; I should prefer to keep my shawl 
upon me for the present, if you please, Miss Bonner." 

" I don't want any of yer talk; take it right off this min- 
ute, ur I '11 save yees the trouble folks have to mind here, 
I tell ye, so be quick." 

Seeing her fiercely approaching me, I immediately gave 
her my shawl, walked once more to my seat, and again sat 
down still, as she had ordered me to do. In this prison was 
exacted the most immediate and uncompromising obedience 
to rules and requirements which a slave holder would have 
blushed to inflict upon his human chattels. Our own pre- 
ferences were never consulted. (< You must do this because 
I want ye to," was all the reason given. 

Does the public think this a good way for lost sanity to be 
regained ? Alas, what has the public hitherto known about 



52 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

it? There is absolutely no escape from obedience here, no 
matter what is required. I have many times, seen even 
tardy or reluctant obedience punished with fearful severity; 
I have seen the attendant strike and unmercifully beat on 
the head, her patient's with a bunch of heavy keys, which 
she carried fastened by a cord around her waist ; leaving 
their faces blackened and scarred for weeks. I have seen 
her twist their arms and cross them behind the back, tie 
them in that position, and then beat the victim till the other 
patients would cry out, begging her to desist. I have seen 
her punish them by pouring cold water into their bosoms, a 
pailful at a time, leaving it to dry without changing their 
wet clothing, the remainder of the day, several hours; I have 
seen her strike them prostrate to the floor, with great vio- 
lence, then beat and kick them. At other times I have seen 
Elizabeth Bonner after throwing them down, their faces to 
the floor, pull them back and forth by the hair, and beat the 
noses and fa-ces repeatedly upon the floor; I have seen her 
kneel upon their bodie's and strike and pound them, till by 
struggling and crying, they became too weak to make resis- 
tance, then dragging them to their rooms, would lock them 
up for many hours, leaving them alone. I have seen her do 
all this too, without any proof that they had been guilty of 
what she had accused them. And even when others had ac- 
cused them, she was always more ready to believe the ac- 
cuser than anything the accused could say in self-defence. 
In this way, this Jury, Judge, and Executive of her own 
laws, went on using the powers her position as head attend- 
ant gave her under the direction and command of Dr. An- 
drew McFarland ! "our accomplished Superintendent 1" 

It was not rarely and occasionally, but hourly and continu- 
ally, that these brutalities occurred. There was not a single 
day, of the twenty days I staid there, that I did not witness 
scenes of this character. Sometimes it appeared that I 
must turn away ; that I could not endure to see human beings 
thus abused. But the next thought was one of self-accusa- 
tion for being thus tender to my own feelings. " If these 



THE FIFTH WARD. 53 

sufferers can bear to feel it, I can and will bear to see it 
said I, for if I do not see these things, I cannot testify that 
I did. So I will even look on." But this resolution I con- 
fess did sometimes break down, for I was often so much 
shocked that I had to turn away my eyes, and many times I 
stuffed both my ears as full as possible, with locks of cotton 
to deaden the noise of demoniac shrieking of these victims 
when under torture. 

One day I became so indignant that I summoned courage, 
and told Mrs. Bonner that if she did not stop abusing the 
patients in this way, I should tell Dr. McFarland of it. "Dr. 
McFarland knows all about it said she, I don't do anything 
here, but what he knows it all, and he tells me to manage 
the patients here by my own judgment, and I intend to do 
as he tells me. So you can mind your own business." 

I silently resolved on that occasion that my "own busi- 
ness" should be to gather up in memory, and then, when the 
right time came, sooner or later, to bring to light, all these 
" deeds of darkness." And this dear reader, is the way I 
am minding my " own business' 1 even now. 

But I told her then that I should talk matters over with 
Dr. Tenny when I could get a chance to see him, and inti- 
mated that I should give him some edifying information of 
how matters went on. Also that in due time Mrs. Packard 
should be informed of these affairs. 

" You shan't tell Mrs. Packard, she's a lady, and you're a 
nuisance; you ain't fit to speak to her." 

"But she loves me," said I, "if I am a nuisance, she gave 
me this chain," pointing to a beautifully wrought white chain 
which I then wore upon my neck. "She gave me this to wear 
as a pledge of her attachment to me, and I shall wear it 
every day, for her sake." 

Lizzy "looked daggers," at this discovery, and had it not 
been for the great popularity of Mrs. Packard there, I think 
she would have robbed me of this beautiful ornament, as I 
have seen her rob others of gold ornaments. At that mo- 
ment, I was wearing garments which Mrs. Packard had lent 



54 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

me in the Eighth ward, as my own under garments had been 
stolen from me, and divided among some of the employees 
in the Asylum. As soon as "Liz" knew I was wearing 
borrowed garments of Mrs. Packard, she compelled me to 
take them off and give them to her, to be returned to Mrs. 
Packard, saying that it was against the rules for one patient 
to borrow of another. I said "I wish it was against the 
rule, to let the servants steal the clothing from the patients." 
But this I said in my own heart, not vocally. 

The loss of these garments, added to the robbery of my 
shawl, caused me to shiver continually. In a few days, the 
fever and ague was so established, that I became at last 
nearly prostrate. When again I saw Dr. Tenny, I told him 
how I constantly shivered for the loss of my clothing. He 
ordered Lizzy to restore my shawl immediately, which she did; 
my stolen garments were not returned. After this, Lizzy ap- 
peared to hate me with a bitterness that was truly appalling. 
She tried in many ways, to provoke me to ill temper, as I 
supposed, in order to frame some complaint against me, or to 
have some excuse for abusing me. But I determined she 
should have not even the semblance of justification for the 
wanton insults with which she first met, and almost uniformly 
ever afterwards treated me, especially while in the lowest 
prison ward. I resolutely governed my temper, persevered in 
obeying instantly her slightest commands; and always ad- 
dressed her with tones of mildness and conciliation. She 
never in the Fifth ward-, used any violence with me, but as- 
sured me, of her readiness to do so, in case I dared to dis- 
obey. As she saw to her sorrow, that there was some danger 
of Dr. Tenny protecting me, she was obliged to refrain from 
actually striking me, but calmed off occasionally some small 
portion of her ever boiling fury, by shaking her fists, and an- 
noying me with all the little petty persecutions possible. 



PURGATORIAL EXPERIENCES. 66 

YIII. 
Purgatorial experiences. 

11 You will never mend till more of you are burned." 

In my dialogue with Lizzy Bonner, already referred to, I 
had given her to understand that I should lay these matters 
before Dr. Tenny the first opportunity. She replied, that 
if I interfered, I should "git the same treatment the rest on 
'em git." I was so closely watched, however, that no oppor- 
tunity occurred for a long time, in which to tell Dr. Tenny. 
Dr. McFarland seldom came into the Fifth ward, and when 
he did, would pass directly through the hall, without ever, 
to my knowledge, stopping to show the least sympathy, or 
the least attempt to relieve the sufferings so dreadfully ap- 
parent in every face. We used to say that Dr. McFarland's 
nose was too delicate ; he didn't seem much to enjoy the 
smell of the Fifth ward. "We didn't blame him for that ; we 
only blamed him for making us endure it. 

Once, and only once, he insulted me by coming into my 
room. He gazed at me with a kind of an oyster-like expres- 
sion ; and, at last, when he had gazed sufficiently, said, in a 
tone of affected wonder and commiseration, "Mrs. Sophia 
B. Olsen ! " I stood erect before his gaze, and deigned not 
to speak a single word, but gave him a look of reproach and 
defiance, which I intended should say, "You have not hurt 
me, and now it is too late to hurt yourself in my credit." 
I then looked significantly at the door, and for once he did 
a sensible thing, which was to immediately take himself out 
of my sight. I could bear the looks of even Lizzy Bonner, 
with all her hateful ferocity could even speak kindly to 
her ; but after the repeated demonstrations of heartless 
treachery I had received from her master, McFarland, I 
could not endure the looks of him for a single moment. 
Indeed, for nearly two months, I avoided him as I would a 
snake ; it seemed as if his very presence in the hall would 
throw me into convulsions. 



56 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Mrs. McFarland used frequently to visit the ward, and 
sometimes would sit down and talk with me, and with others. 
She was generally pleasant, and used to laugh a good deal. 
I very rarely saw any indications of either pity or sympathy 
in her. She used to say, " Oh, I hear so many stories ; one 
has one trouble, another, another trouble. I can not help 
it. I didn't bring you here, and it is not I who keep you 
here," &c. I think Mrs. McFarland is not naturally cruel 
or heartless; but she was not free then; she was a subordi- 
nate as well as the attendants, and had very little power 
over the patients. She would often say, when earnestly 
appealed to, "I have no power t,o grant your wish; ask the 
Doctor. It isn't as I say about things." 

My own unconquerable pride would not permit me ever to 
tell her how I suffered in that prison, and with what intense 
abhorrence I regarded all the modus operandi there. I 
affected a stoical indifference to my fate, and never made 
the least complaint to her, or expressed any desire to return 
to the Eighth or Seventh wards. I thought of the apostle 
P^ter in prison, who said, "Let them come themselves and 
fetch us out." But I did not feel thus with respect to my 
fellow patients ; but plainly told Mrs. McFarland just what 
I have here been telling the public, about the brutalities of 
" Lizzy" Bonner. I also tried to appeal to her feelings of 
sympathy for her husband's honor, which I thought was in 
danger of some "trifling discount," when these things would 
be, as they surely must be, made known to the world. I 
used every argument, every possible persuasion I could sum- 
mon, to induce her to curtail or end the power of Lizzy 
there. But my efforts with Mrs. McFarland proved as pow- 
erless as they had ever been with her indomitable husband. 

I could now do nothing more than to spend my utmost care 
for the preservation of my life and sanity, and to learn all 
I could, by observing the phases of life around me. 

One day I noticed, in one of the small rooms, a very pale 
and quiet young lady sewing. She was neatly dressed, and 
her room very clean and tidy. She was stitching on a very 



PURGATORIAL EXPERIENCES. 57 

fine shirt bosom. I was much surprised to see her in prison. 
Observing me lingering at her door, she very politely invited 
me to walk in, which I was glad to accept. It was a relief 
to get out of the noisy hall, and my own room afforded me 
no quiet. I soon entered into conversation with this young 
person, and found her highly intelligent and ladylike in her 
manners. I was glad to keep up her acquaintance, and by 
her invitation, visited her every day in her room. I found 
rich treasures in her mind, fully repaying all the attention I 
gave her. She had been left an orphan in infancy, and had 
been always a child of poverty and sorrow ; yet the nobility 
of her nature had ever inclined her, with a yearning aspira- 
tion, towards " the good, the beautiful, the true." She 
possessed warm affections, and had met with sad disappoint- 
ments, sometimes, in the object to which this confiding love 
of her pure nature was directed. She related her sad his- 
tory to me very freely, though without the least attempt, 
apparently, to throw herself upon my sympathies. She ex- 
pressed no reproach, or even dislike to any one ; made no 
complaints of the sufferings or deprivations of her present 
forlorn condition. She was never allowed any amusement 
or relaxation ; never attended chapel prayers, balls, walks, 
or rides. But every day, not even excepting the Sabbath, 
with her ever busy fingers, it was "stitch, stitch, stitch, 
from weary morn till night." 

She would even, when the bell rang to call us to meals, 
sew to the last minute, then actually run down the hall to 
the dining hall, swallow her meal hastily, then run back to 
her room, catch up her needle, and continue her work till 
day was done and twilight had darkened. By sewing thus 
rapidly and incessantly, she accomplished an almost incred- 
ible amount of work for the Institution. I asked her her 
motive in toiling so incessantly, expressing my fears that her 
health would surfer by such application. She replied, 
"Mrs. McFarland is going to pay me for making these shirts." 

"How many have you made? Do you keep an account of 
them?" 

3A 



58 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

" Oh no, but I suppose they keep account, and I suppose 
'twill be all right." 

Poor child ! She had been deluded into the belief, that 
by thus constantly toiling for the "workroom," she had been 
laying up a fund for herself that would hasten her removal, 
for she was very desirous to leave the "Asylum." I did not 
undeceive her, feeling that the opposing influences were too 
strong against us both. This unfortunate person was indeed 
"laying up a fund," but it was a fund of future sickness, of 
sorrow, and bitter disappointment. This course of life, also 
did, indeed, " hasten her removal," but it was a removal from 
earth ! 

In one of my interviews, she asked if I could not obtain 
some books for her. "Oh, it is so long since I have seen any 
kind of a book ! I do so long to get hold of something to 
read, if its nothing but an old almanac ; do try to get me 
something, won't you?" I responded, "I am not now 
allowed to read myself; my last book has been taken away, 
but I will watch every opportunity, and if jDggsible, will 
bring you something to read." She thanked me fervently. 

I felt deeply distressed for -the unhappy doom of this 
lovely young person, and much feared that a continuation of 
Dr. McFarland's present " treatment of her case," would 
terminate in an "incurable" insanity. In the course of a 
few months, my worst apprehensions were realized in the 
most fearful manner. I once asked her attendant why Miss 
Hodson never went out of doors. She replied, "because 
she used to be so ugly when we let her go out ; she wanted 
to go off, and once undertook to run away, and now she ain't 
a goin' out any more. It's too much trouble to git her back." 

How strange that she wants to run away ! Do you think, 
my reader, that in such circumstances you would not wish 
to run away ? Do you think you could be contented to go 
and stay there ? If so, I pray you, then, go and stay there, 
The world can spare you. 



PURGATORIAL EXPERIENCES. 59 

IX. 
Satan's Representative. 

"Remote, unfriended, melancholy, low." 

Among those which are the most "remote" from human 
sympathy, the most "unfriended" and "melancholy" of all 
the sons or daughters of sorrow, I certainly consider the 
victims of the Jacksonville "Asylum" prison. Of these, I 
shall now briefly describe a few : 

The first on my list, a little child there known as "little 
Dilly," only about nine years of age. Even the young 
"lambs of the flock" (I wonder whose flock,) packed into 
this abode of torment ! She eats, drinks, exists and sleeps 
in companionship with these dreadful beings. She had 
learned of her companions the elements of the most demor- 
alizing education taught by our noble State authorities, 
through their most "accomplished Superintendent." This 
little child has learned to curse, to swear, and to use obscene 
expressions with a volubility that would shock a sailor or a 
pirate ! I heard she had a bad temper, and had learned to 
swear before she went there. Indeed I then why was she 
not sent where she might have a chance to reform, instead of 
having such manners confirmed, and made irreclaimable? 

If a farmer has in his flock a diseased sheep or other ani- 
mal, does he confine it with other sick ones in some small 
pen ? No ; he knows better how to take care of even the 
brutes. I wish the State of Illinois knew better than thus 
to maltreat and "pen up" the bodies and souls of helpless 
childhood ! I expressed a wish to be permitted to have 
"little Dilly" a short time with me each day that I might 
teach her to read, but could not get the least attention to my 
request. They would not trouble themselves, so much as 
to give a decent refusal, but spurned my proposition with 
contempt. Is there not an old-fashioned and very unfashion- 
able Book, somewhere, that speaks about "taking away the 
key of knowledge, neither entering in, nor suffering others 



60 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

to enter?" Is this the way to "suffer little children" to 
come to Christ ? 

Mrs. Hays. 

My description of this prison would be very defective, if 
I neglected to describe this person. She was one of the 
most remarkable specimens of humanity I ever saw. Active, 
bold, furious, frantic in the extreme ; profane, indecent and 
horrible in all those actions which justify such adjectives, 
equally in the extreme. Yet, anomolous as it may appear, 
this singular individual would at times, evince a disposition 
of kindness and benevolence, so strongly marked, so tenderly 
expressive, as often to excite in my mind the sincerest ad- 
miration as well as astonishment. She was so active and 
apparently strong, she would run, and dance, and jump along 
the halls with the dexterity of a bounding deer. We used 
to say she actually flew. 

Her attendant kept her almost constantly at work at the 
coarsest drudgery. But she would find time every day to 
visit every one of the patients in the hall. She fancied her- 
self the supervisoress ; and as such would examine their con- 
dition and clothing to see what was needed. This of course 
she did on her own responsibility, as, though she was very 
skilful in finding out the wants of the rest, she was not equally 
skilled in supplying those wants. I was willing she should 
visit m9, for she really supplied me with many comforts, and 
by her wonderful adroitness, procured many privileges ; had 
it not been for her timely aid, I should have suffered much 
more than I did. But, unfortunately, she was much addicted 
to using tobacco, and would eject the superfluous perversion 
of the gastric juice all over the floor, and the walls of her 
room, with a liberality, which, to a decent woman, must be 
truly appalling. It certainly appalled me, when, to my utter 
consternation I discovered that this room was assigned to 
me ! 

In this most filthy place, I could not breathe without nearly 
strangling, but I was assured that the room was " good enough 



MES. HAYS. 61 

fur yees." Sick and enfeebled as the ague had made me, I 
ye I. felt more able to scrub and clean, than to breathe and 
sleep in this terrible Pandora's box as it was. I very mildly 
asked of my attendant the privilege of procuring from the 
washroom a pail of hot water and soap, with which to clean 
this room. She granted this favor, and I was overjoyed, 
having feared that I was to be locked in here as it was. I 
began my task, proceeding gradually as my strength allowed, 
to scrub and make clean this filthy room, so far as I was 
able to reach the walls upward. The remainder I was 
obliged to leave unfinished. But the floor I made quite 
clean, with abundance of water and soap scrubbing, so 
that before night the room was really quite tolerable. One 
of the insane, who was allowed to go out, had the kindness 
to bring a nice boquet of beautiful flowers, which I accepted 
gratefully, and placed in my partly darkened window. I 
looked upon these beautiful expressions of good-will with 
real pleasure, a pleasure bestowed by the sweet ministra- 
tions of our gentle mother nature. 

What a poor fool I was, to imagine for a moment that such 
a privilege would be allowed me ! As soon as Lizzy came 
along, she rushed up to my flowers, jerked them out of the 
room in an instant, without saying a word, then giving the 
door a bang with her keys, vanished out of my sight. I 
dared make no remonstrance "lest some worse thing might 
come to me." The next day, lo, a worse thing did come! See- 
ing how tidy and clean I had made the room, she informed 
me she wanted that room for another patient. Before I had 
time even to look up in astonishment, I was jerked out of it, 
with as little ceremony as had been my unfortunate flowers 
the previous day. Opening another door, into another hor- 
ribly filthy room, she said "this is to be your room now." I 
shall not attempt to portray my feelings on this occasion I 

With much abated strength, and now rather waning hope, 
again I procured soap and other etceteras, and repeated the 
cleaning process of the previous day. 

I was allowed only two days to enjoy (?) this room before I 



62 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. % 

was again driven into one still worse ! These "petty per- 
secutions" continued till the attendant saw that I had no 
strength left with which to scrub. Then she put me into a 
" screen-room" as it is termed, and there I remained the 
time I staid in this ward. 

One day I heard a dreadful noise, worse by far, than any 
I had previously heard; It appeared that for some trifling 
offence, disputing with an attendant I believe, Mrs. Hays 
had incurred the anger of Lizzy Bonner, who now was pun- 
ishing her. She tore off, one after another, every single 
article of clothing from her victim. She did this with so 
much haste, that she tore the under woolen garment into 
several pieces, and threw the pieces about the floor. Then 
when perfectly nude, the attendant kicked her body till she 
had crowded her quite under a stationary bench, when Mrs. 
Hays curled herself up in a heap, so to speak. 

Lizzy's back was turned to me ; she did not know I was 
" taking notes." I stood paralyzed on witnessing these bar- 
barities, silent and motionless, transfixed with a cold creep- 
ing horror, "Oh God." exclaimed I, "in the deep abyss of 
my soul, "while with dumb lips I quailed." Is it thus that 
thy children must suffer? "how long, Oh Lord, how long?" 
The screams of the sufferer were so terrific, and the blows she 
received so much more terrific, that at last I turned to leave 
the scene, feeling that I could no longer endure to see it. 
But in one instant, as if more than mortal strength come to 
my aid, I thought, " if this sufferer can bear to feel them, 
I will train my selfish nerves to look on. Because, if I do 
not see these things, I can never say that I saw them, and as 
they do exist, I wish to be able to testify." I silently prayed 
that death would come to the suffering Mrs. Hays, and re- 
lieve her from further torment. But she did not die, for her 
time had not come. Neither did I die, " for my time had not 
yet come." We both had an errand to this earth which had 
not yet been finished. Mrs. Hays after this did many acts 
of kindness for me which I have not time to here describe, 
and notwithstanding the bad points I have named respecting 



MRS. HAYS. 63 

her. I must in justice say that I am not certain but she really 
saved my life. 

After Lizzy had beaten, and pulled her hair, and kicked 
her, to her perfect satisfaction, she dragged her across the 
hall, into an empty room, and after telling her that "she 
shouldn't have any supper," left her entirely naked, locked 
up alone. Mrs. Hays made no reply; she seemed evidently 
much weakened ; I had no idea that she could live till morn- 
ing, for I did not then know how far the endurance of human 
suffering could be carried. I said nothing to any one. A 
heavy cloud like the gloom of a funeral in a stormy day was 
upon my spirit. I felt as though the power of human lan- 
guage had left me, and I quietly glided back to my screen-room. 
I saw at supper time while passing her door on my way to the 
dinning hall, that two other very insane women had now 
been locked up with Mrs. Hays. Their door was only half 
a door, the upper part being an open iron frame like a win- 
dow frame, so that one on passing, could see all within. In- 
deed this was just like my own door at this time, so that I 
had no protection, not even that of a whole door to defend 
me from the horrid sounds, sights, and smells of this truly 
Purgatorial abode. 

"But why are these three dangerous women locked up to- 
gether," was my query. I believe it was done so that in 
case the black spots which the blows of Lizzy had made 
upon the face of her victim should not disappear in comforta- 
ble season, their infliction might be ascribed by the attendant 
to the two fierce patients locked up there with her ! I went 
to my supper table sadder than I had ever felt. The terrible 
sights I had seen followed my vision and destroyed my appe- 
tite. I managed to steal a buscuit from the table, intending 
to slip it through her bars to the suffering Mrs. Hays, as I 
passed her door on returning to my own room; but Lizzy, 
who I believed suspected something of the kind, followed me 
closely, drove me into my room, and locked my door for the 
night. 



64 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

X. 
The Resurrection. 

"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there." 

It is time to conduct my readers out of this horrible ward, 
and I am sure they think so too. I might write a large vol- 
ume, describing scenes of cruelty and injustice quite equal to 
any here detailed, but my limits will not allow. 

My health had now become extremely enfeebled ; I could 
not sleep except when utterly prostrate from long wakefulness, 
nature could hold out no longer. It was my practice to stuff 
cotton into my ears to deaden the sounds of the terrible 
shrieks which came from all directions. This cotton was 
furnished by Mrs. Hays voluntarily; she used to procure it 
by stealth, telling me to put it into my shoes to keep my 
feet warm. But the cotton had not power to solace even one 
brief hour, for the dreadful sounds would find avenues to my 
ears. I thought I must either become insane, from the long 
pressure upon my brain, caused by these influences, or must 
die of brain fever, so terrible was the pain in my head. 

As a last resort, in my persistent endeavors to counteract 
these influences, and thus protect my sanity, I used to rise 
in the night, from my recumbent position, and sit up with 
these large wads of cotton bound tightly about my ears, at 
the same time vigorously pressing my head and face down- 
wards to divert the blood from the cerebral veins. I had al- 
ready begun to experience symptoms of congestion of the 
brain. One night while much distressed by such apprehen- 
sions, an unusual lassitude crept over me, and ere I was 
aware, was actually lost in the sweet unconsciousness of 
slumber. I was not in heaven, though, in this enviable hour 
of rest, I dreamed I was there, but in the midst of my rap- 
ture over the thought that such a lingering death as I had 
been suffering, was now indeed "swallowed up in victory," 
lo ! a fierce and rapid succession of far other sounds than ''the 
songs of the redeemed," convinced my reluctantly waking 



THE RESURRECTION. 65 

eyes that I was not yet, as I had hoped, " on the other side 
of Jordan !" " Oh God ! Oh God ! let my tormentors be 
swallowed up forever in the lake of fire and brimstone," 
shouted with terrific loudness, a sufferer of about twenty 
years of age. Her room was but a few feet from my own. 
She continued with vociferations of this character, as long 
as she had breath. Before this song was ended, it had awak- 
ened and excited another patient opposite, who, angry to 
have her temporary sleep thus disturbed, screamed out, "Yes, 
I mean to send McFarland's soul to hell ; there it shall be 
roasted and burned for thousands, millions, millions, trillions, 
trillion years. 1 ' This too was many times repeated, as she 
emphasized and prolonged the first syllable, m-i-1-l-ions 
m-i-1-l-ions. 

Thus this aged woman and the young girl, the fiercest in 
the hall, tortured my brain, and in the same way almost 
every night of my stay in this ward ; till in my iron deter- 
mination not to become myself insane, I actually discovered 
a method of effectually fighting against Dr. McFarland's 
seeming decree that my sanity should become annihilated I 

I relate it for the benefit of any readers who may possibly 
be placed in similar circumstances. Finding that sleep was 
out of the question, with such a jargon about my head, I re- 
solved to neutralize the effect of such sounds by reversing 
the current of their ideas ; by calling to my aid with a vio- 
lent effort of will, opposite ideas. Sitting up, erect in my 
bed, with as loud a voice as I could possibly command, to 
help to drown these opposite voices, I repeated passages of 
the most beautiful and attractive poetry I had ever learned 
in former years. 

These daily distractions, added to the intense mental ex- 
ertions of these my midnight labors, had now perfectly pros- 
trated my health. At last I was unable to rise from my bed. 
I can not find words to express the intensity of feeling with 
which I wished my friend Mrs. Packard might be allowed to 
come from the Eighth ward and visit me. But I knew better 
than to ask this indulgence. I would as soon have asked 



66 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

any of my key-holding "powers that be "for liberty to rap 
at the gate of heaven, to call down the angel Gabriel to see 
me I should have had no less probability of success. In- 
deed, if by any mortal or immortal agency, Mrs. Packard 
had been allowed to " descend into hell " to visit me at that 
time, I hardly think, so intoxicating must have been my joy, 
that I should have known any difference between herself, and 
an angel from heaven ! 

But I was now really sick and helpless. What could I 
do? I had a fever, but knew no one to do anything for me. 
Dr. Tenny was absent much of the time, but when he did 
visit the hall, my ever busy tormentor, Lizzy Bonner, would 
generally contrive to take up the whole of his time directing 
him to other scenes, in order to keep him away from me. 
Besides I had a suspicion all the time that he felt guilty for 
having allowed his better nature to bow to McFarland's most 
wicked command for my imprisonment there. It was my im- 
pression that Dr. Tenny did not wish to give me an oppor- 
tunity to give him that just reproach that he well knew he 
deserved. But he did not understand my nature. I did not 
feel like reproaching him, though he had betrayed the great 
confidence he knew I had reposed in his honor, I felt too 
much grief to entertain reproach or revenge. 

My attendant that morning, missing my presence at the 
table, called to my room, and said, "Ain't ye up yit?" "I 
am sick, Elizabeth, "replied I. "Please excuse me, I can not 
go to the table, and do not wish to eat." Perceiving my in- 
ability to rise, she brought me a plate of baked pork, and 
hot biscuit ! I thanked her, but declined, telling her it was 
impossible to eat it. She seemed angry, though my manner 
to her was perfectly gentle as it had ever been. She hastily 
responded, " The rest on 'em don't complain; its good enough 
fur 'em they think ; un it's good enough for ye too, so ye'll 
eat that or git nothin." I preferred to "gitnothin." I then 
very mildly asked her if she would bring me a cup of weak 
tea without sugar, or, if that was not convenient, a glass of 
cold water. She re-plied, "If yee's too good to eatsich as 



THE RESURRECTION. 67 

the rest on 'em eat, I wonYbring ye nothin more." So shut- 
ting my half-door with a bang, she left me. 

But as it seems " my time had not yet come to die," I ral- 
lied, and in two or three days, became able again to leave 
that bed of pain, and go out into the hall. But as neither 
rest nor safety was to be found there, I again went to my 
room. Here, being so weak, the intrusion of the noisy was 
more annoying than ever ; being now unable to either amuse 
them or attract them out of my room, as I had often done 
before. They would persist in pulling over everything in 
the room, then, in the same manner, would examine my 
person, put their hands into my pocket, and feel of my head, 
making themselves, in spite of the best efforts I could make 
to get rid of them, most disgustingly familiar. They would 
overhaul the work, which even here, I still tried to do; often 
taking away parts of it, causing much disturbance. In other 
moods of mind, they fancied me their enemy, and would in- 
flict punishments like Lizzy Bonner, on their own responsi- 
bility. Sometimes they would strike me suddenly, knock 
me down, and often spit upon me, either in 'my face, or upon 
my hands or garments, as suited their convenience. Some- 
times they annoyed me still worse by trying to pull my cloth- 
ing from my person, declaring it was theirs, and I had stolen 
it from them. 

These, as I subsequently learned, were not the ordinary 
specimens of " insane people," but rare and extraordinary 
specimens of distorted humanity ; no less indeed than the 
State's incendiaries and thieves- who had been brought from 
the State's Prison and from the Penitentiary of Illinois ! 
Who can wonder that Elizabeth Bonner thought they were 
as good as I was, and entirely appropriate companions forme, 
when Dr. McFarland had assigned me to their companion- 
ship ! She was only a tool in his hands to carry out his pur- 
poses. 

But now in my present condition of weakness, I ventured 
to humbly ask her to lock me up alone in my room in the day 
time, explaining how they annoyed me, and promising if she 



68 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

would comply with my request, that I would help her again 
about her work all I could, as soon as I was well. But she 
refused, saying, "what business had ye to be here then? ye 
ain't crazy, un ye must have been ugly, or yur friends 
wouldn't put ye into sich a place as this, I ain't a goin tu 
run round ahter ye, un ye needn't be complainin iny more to 
me. If they kill ye, 'tis likely ye deserve it." So I con- 
cluded that though locks and keys were always ready to be 
used against me, yet never could they be used for my pro- 
tection or advantage. 

Therefore, as now I could not defend myself from their 
fury while sitting up, and feeling very sore and lame, from 
their blows, I felt no longer able to fight so unequal a battle, 
and now retired to my bed in the day time covering myself 
as closely as possible, to protect my head from the danger of 
their blows. My attendant did not allow such indulgence 
long, but soon ordered me to " git up, and not muss up the 
bed in the day time." I rose mechanically, and once more, 
with but half an armor, endeavored " to win my desperate 
way." So, on and on I struggled daily, never for a moment 
losing sight of my original determination to learn all the 
mysteries of " Lunatic Asylums !" 

Day after day, three times each day, did the great " Asy- 
lum " bell summon us to take our meals for the protraction of 
wretched existences. Such a crowded table ! More than 
seventy women in all degrees of sanity and of insanity, of 
virtue and of vice, and of every gradation between these ex- 
tremes, promiscuously huddled, jammed, literally crammed 
together at these tables ! All wanted to have "their say," 
except a few silent ones, who rarely spoke at all. I was, on 
these occasions generally silent, in order the better to ob- 
serve the practical application of "our accomplished Super- 
intendent's" method of applying the " Physiology^of Die- 
tetics " to the restoration of diseased intellects ! 

His system was directly at war with those systems of the 
present age that are most approved by those enlightened re- 
formers who have made the laws of health a special study. 



THE RESURRECTION". 69 

None of these, I believe recommend the abundant eating of 
pork for feeble and sickly people. They do not recommend 
eating supper of hot biscuit in the quickest possible haste, 
and then rushing immediately to bed. But this was practiced 
there, always in the Fifth ward. We were often commanded 
to " hurry ! hurry up ! I want to clear the table, then take 
your biscuit to your room and finish it there." Sometimes I 
have seen half a dozen or more at a time running with a half- 
munched hot biscuit in hand to their bed-rooms, while the 
attendant was behind, impatiently swinging her keys ready 
to lock them in. 

Perhaps Messrs. Fowler, Wells and others had better em- 
ploy Dr. McFarland to write a series of articles in their 
popular health journal, describing the benefits of his new 
system of dietetics. I think he might throw some light 
which never on this subject has illuminated their pages I 
The Doctor is a scientific man, and of course acquainted 
with the laws of health. Now, I want him to explain to 
" the dear people," the peculiar benefits of suppers of hot 
biscuit, with tainted butter being "hurried" down the throats 
of diseased patients ; then, of their going to bed in a small 
room full of miasma from all manner of noxious exhala- 
tions, oppressed with every emotion of disgust, anger and 
grief, that such a system can impose. Let him describe their 
impotent attempts at slumber, and their frequent nightmares. 
The public ought to know the peculiar benefits of such a 
system ; and I am aware of none so well calculated to show 
these benefits as " our accomplished Superintendent." 

Whenever I walked from my " screen room" to my meals; 
to the wash-room, indeed any where, I had to "watch there- 
fore" how I should step, in order to escape some of the 
"dangers" which, in the language of a well known religious 
poet, "stand thick o'er all the ground, to push us to the 
tomb." If I went too near an old lady, Mrs. Triplet, who 
always sat in one place by which I was obliged to pass on 
my way to meals, she would brandish her arms and curse and 
swear loudly threatening to kill me. If, in my attempts to 



70 THE PRISONER S HIDDEN LIFE. 

escape her, I came too near another on the opposite seat, 
(both of whom spent most of their time, sitting on their seats) 
the latter would discharge a load of spittle, which she had 
previously prepared for my reception, into my face, or about 
my person. So I was each moment, obliged to study how to 
so adjust my steps as to escape this Scylla and Charybdis. I 
found it necessary also to appear to be careless, and to con- 
ceal from all the fact of my using such vigilance. I did 
literally walk in a straight and narrow way. 

My position here constantly reminded me of that locality, 
so graphically described by Bunyan, the " Valley of Humili- 
ation," where Christian, at every step encountered "gins, 
traps, pits and snares." These were ever menacing my 
progress, and often caused me internally to exclaim, " Why 
am I made to possess months of vanity, while wearisome 
nights are appointed unto me." But " there is an end to all 
earthly things," it is said, and I here add my testimony 
that there is also an end to some unearthly things. Accord- 
ing to previous arrangements, of Mrs. McFarland and Lizzy 
Bonner, it was now officially announced in the hall, that the 
latter was to take about fourteen of her patients up to the 
Eighth ward in a few days. This of course created a great 
sensation, and the query became general " who is going? " 
"Is it I ?" So, while yet unable to sit up all day, I joyfully 
emerged with the rest, and in due ceremony, we were con- 
ducted to the very highest part of the building. The room 
assigned me was in the north end of the hall. It was a very 
cold room, exposed to the winds, and far from the fires, all 
of which were in a cellar below all the halls. 

It was well for me that I could not then anticipate the 
suffering which the coming winter had in store for me. I 
had no expectation of being obliged to spend the winter 
there. 

In this hall I could work; so my former employments were 
again resumed, but I suffered so much from chills and fever, 
it was comparatively little that I was able to do besides tak- 
ing proper care of my room, and keeping my clothing in good 



THE RESURRECTION. 71 

repair, t soon saw Dr. Tenny, and prevailed upon him to let 
me resume the study of Roman history, which had been in- 
terrupted while in the lowest prison ward. He again brought 
me "Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." The 
only way I could preserve this book from being taken from 
me by some of the wilder ones in the hall, was to keep it 
constantly about my person. I made a strong bag for the 
purpose, tied this to my apron strings, and when not reading 
always placed the book in it, carrying it to my meals and every 
where I went, when obliged to leave my room. In this way 
I managed to read five volumes of that immortal work, and 
found it productive of much pleasure by giving an agreeable 
diversity to the sadness of a prison life. I name these cir- 
cumstances to show how difficult it is, in such a place, to cul- 
tivate or improve, or even benefit one's mind. Yet this is 
supposed to be a place where even disordered minds are re- 
stored to order. Oh humbug ! what is thy name ? where is 
thy representative ? 

Our ascent to the Eighth ward occurred in the morning. 
When the dinner hour arrived, and I again saw the tranquil 
beaming face of my beloved friend, Mrs. Packard, I longed 
to throw myself into her arms, and weep with joy upon her 
bosom. 

She was affected in the same way as were many others re- 
specting the abusive treatment to which the patients were 
subjected. Yet she did not see the worst forms of this 
cruelty. The attendants dared not in her presence perpe- 
trate these. She honestly expressed her feelings both to 
them and to the officers on this subject. When her eloquent, 
yet intensely gentle and tender voice was raised in the de- 
fence of the suffering ones around her, every other voice was 
hushed. We all knew she " was a host " in herself, and 
many of the " insane," possessed yet sufficient sanity to re- 
cognize in her their future deliverer. 

The hand of this our dear friend was ever ready to admin- 
ister acts of beneficence, so far as her restricted privileges 
would permit; her voice to soothe, to cheer and to sustain ; 



72 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

*to encourage the desponding and indolent to energetic ac- 
tivity and self respect, and to intellectual and moral eleva- 
tion. The sick delighted to grasp her hand, when she was 
permitted to visit them, and deep were the murmurings when 
this privilege was not allowed. 

Such an ardent lover of truth, so heroic a defender of 
principles, dear as her own life, I never saw outside these 
walls. The boldness with which she reproved tyranny, and 
the thrilling eloquence with which she defended the cause of 
suffering humanity, were truly "a terror to evil doers!" 

No one was so popular in the whole institution. Without 
ever being intrusive, she drew all eyes, all ears, in every 
circle. At balls the most aerial dancer; in labor, the most 
industrious, in all public gatherings or private circles, <f the 
observed of all observers." The wonderful power she pos- 
sessed over the minds of others drew all to her ample heart, 
with an irresistible magnetism. "When she came into our 
hall, every hand, eye and heart, were open to receive her. 
I never saw one, who took the least notice of anything, who, 
after having seen her once, did not wish to see her again. 
When we suffered any unusual abuse, it was very often said, 
"I'll tell Mrs. Packard of this." We knew our rights would 
find an able advocate in our firm and gentle friend. 

Doctor and Mrs. McFarland were much annoyed by these 
demonstrations of the fact that Mrs. Packard was so much 
more popular than themselves ; and this annoyance was un- 
doubtedly the reason, that shortly after the accession of the 
patients from the lowest prison, to her ward, the privileges 
of Mrs. Packard were materially abridged. The restrictions 
to which she was condemned, were very severe ; sufficient 
to exasperate the gentlest mind. Yet they could not ruffle 
her undaunted spirit, or change to a frown, the sublime tran- 
quillity, of that heaven-sustained soul. 



REIGN OF TERROR 73 

XI 
The Reign of Terror. 

" Strike till the last armed foe expires." 

To my astonishment and joy, at dinner, the day we entered 
the Eighth ward, Lizzy Bonner said tome, " Mrs. Olsen, 
you can have your seat at the table next to Mrs. Packard." 
I did not dare even to thank Miss Bonner, or to show any de- 
monstration of my joy when this most delightful decree was 
announced, but quietly took my seat. Here, for a few weeks, 
I. had the privilege of eating without fear that my brains 
would be knocked out, or that any other episode from dinner, 
such as some one's upsetting my plate, or laying her hair 
into it, or crowding or sneezing, or anything of the kind. 
Mrs. Packard and myself conversed in very low tones, so as 
not to disturb any one, and not to permit our attendant to 
suspect that we were particularly happy. Our meal hours 
were the most pleasant hours I enjoyed, for with my sweet 
friend by my side, I forgot that the potatoes were always 
cold, the meat often tainted, and butter no longer visible. I 
forgot the immodest and profane conversation that was com- 
mon with a certain class of women, who, though they evi- 
dently, had a long time had the privilege of " go thy way," 
yet as evidently had omitted to recognize the force of the di- 
vine mandate to "sin no more !" 

About this time, some changes had made impressions on 
some minds which looked very ominous. It was whispered 
that our ward was to be broken up, and some of us put into 
the Sixth ward. I trembled at the thought that I might be 
included among the number, for I had heard that the Sixth 
ward was not much better than the Fifth, and I could not 
bear to again ' go down." These changes however did not 
affect me. 

It had been so long since I had heard from home, that I 
supposed, very naturally, that all who had formerly known 

and loved me, had become accustomed to the idea that I was 
4 



74 THE PBISONER S HIDDEN LIFE. 

" incurably insane," and consequently incapable of appreci- 
ating letters from them ! Bitter indeed was this apprehen- 
sion ; yet I derived some consolation, by thinking that if in- 
deed it should be my destiny to die there, which now, as my 
health had become so feeble, was very probable, my friend, 
Mrs. Packard, would surely vindicate my sanity to my 
friends at Chicago, as soon as it should become in her power 
to do so. 

Mrs. McFarland now avoided Mrs. Packard as much as 
possible ; not only declining to show her the least sympathy, 
but utterly refusing to speak to her. Though the latter 
could never be accused of ever breaking any of the thousand 
and one rules of our key-holders, and yielded, no less than 
myself, implicit obedience to all their commands, yet, she 
"was accused by the matron and one of the most obsequious 
of the attendants, of being "very troublesome !" I believe 
she was "very troublesome," to some of Satan's kingdom; 
since she persisted so firmly, not only in giving no cause for 
offence, but in exhibiting, so far as the most blameless life 
could do so, all the "peaceable fruits of righteousness." 
But it troubled the adversary much to know that she spent 
nearly all her time writing in her own room, some "mischief," 
they had reason to fear, might come of it, ' Othello's occu- 
pation 1 ' might become endangered. 

It had been discovered by the powers that be, that her 
alliances were becoming quite too numerous for the enemies' 
forces. She was now securely entrenched by fortifications 
erected by the warm friendship of numerous partizans ; and 
the daily accessions to her party were a signal of defeat to 
the enemies' forces. Indeed we all felt that we had been 
drawn into a regular civil war with the Institution ! 

All the seventy patients in the Eighth ward who took the 
least interest in anything, sympathised with Mrs. Packard ; 
and, so far as I could learn, every attendant, both male and 
female, in the Asylum, defended, and very highly respected 
Mrs. Packard. This state of affairs created increased ap 
prehensions in thfi camp of the enemy. Something must be 



BEIGN OF TERROR. 75 

done . Our potent commander, after holding a war-council with 
several of his allies, the chief of whom was Bonner, the 
Prime Minister, now issued officially from his "sanctum," a 
new and startling Proclamation. It was this: 

"All intercourse between Mrs. Packard and the inmates 
of the west division of the Eighth ward, must be prohibited 
except under strict guard of an attendant! Mrs. Packard 
must not be allowed to go into the hall, except when accom- 
panied by an attendant. She is to hold no more prayer- 
meetings, lend no more books, and those she has lent must 
be immediately returned." 

This Proclamation was met in our hall with silent hisses 
of execration. Some, however wers far from being silent. 
A few swore loudly on the occasion, and prayed very loudly 
for a fresh instalment of curses upon the head of Dr. McFar- 
land. As for me, I wept more bitter tears than any I had 
ever shed there, knowing that now my life was to be deprived 
of almost its only earthly solace. In a very few days, I was 
suddenly ordered to leave my seat at the table next Mrs. 
Packard, and take a seat at another table in the same hall, 
by the side of an old lady who was known to be the fiercest 
and most dangerous of all the female patients in the Asylum! 
She had been recently conducted from the prison below. 

I met this terrible order without trembling, but with a 
deep and inexpressible indignation, that of course was voice- 
less. I left my table immediately, without a word of demur- 
ring, and took a seat, as ordered, by the side of this fierce 
woman. 

About this time all our rules were rendered much more 
severe than ever. We were seldom permitted to go out of 
the house at all ; some were never allowed to go, but were 
kept constantly in close confinement. These were harmless 
patients too. One was Miss Plodson, the industrious sewer 
that I spoke of in the Fifth ward. Rides were also pro- 
hibited. The balls were suspended, and only a very few 
were permitted to attend the chapel services. Company 
was also kept out of our ward for H long time. We were 



76 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

not allowed private conference with each other, and all who 
did not render instant obedience were severely punished. 
I often saw Lizzy Bonner pull patients into their private 
rooms, and shut the door after them. Then I would hear her 
beating them, and the latter screaming, and in a choking 
stifled voice begging, " Oh, don't kill me, don't kill me." I 
did not let the attendant know I heard this. 

This was indeed a "Reign of Terror!" " No matter," 
thought I, " so that it proves the prelude of a " Revolution." 
A revolution, I inferred, could not but make our prospects 
better, since I could hardly imagine how they could be worse. 
I heard and saw many unmistakeable portents that a storm 
was coming of an unusual character. 

One patient had become so disgusted with life under such 
circumstances, that she determined to destroy it by starva- 
tion. She had been a long time in close confinement in her 
own room alone. I many times knew that Lizzy was using 
violence upon her person, throwing her heavily upon the 
floor. She persisted in her resolve on suicide till she became 
emaciated almost to a skeleton ; for many weeks taking 
neither food or drink except by force. Her resolution thus 
to die was at last overcome by fierce pains of hunger. She 
now was glad to eat, and a terrible reaction ensued. Her 
long abstinence had made her so fiercely hungry that it 
seemed she would devour every thing she could reach. After 
eating as much as was assigned to the rest, she would clutch 
the food from the other patients, and devour it with the most 
terrible voracity. But all were glad to see her eat, thinking 
she had now abandoned the idea of suicide. She now came 
constantly to the table with the rest, and behaved so mildly 
for several days that all were confirmed in the hope that she 
might yet live and recover. 

One day at dinner, she startled every one at the tables, by 
suddenly seizing a knife and cutting her own throat ! Oh I 
will not attempt to describe the terror of this scene ! - The 
wound, however, was not so deep as she intended to make it; 
the knife was immediately taken from her bleeding throat, 



REIGN OF TERROR ENDED. 77 

and she was led to her room and again put into a straight- 
jacket in solitary confinement. But no one, as yet, had ever 
heard her speak a word in that hall. This was the first at- 
tempt at suicide I had seen at Jacksonville. There were 
many others, some successful, in different parts of the house 
as I heard by attendants and others, but I am only describing 
scenes that fell under my awn observation. 

Another unfortunate actually threw herself from a high un- 
barred window in the work-room, four stories from the ground, 
and was taken up dead from the pavement. She had been 
there only a few days, and it appears had no knowledge of 
the place. I saw her when she arrived, she was mild and 
gentle, conversed intelligently of her husband, and of the 
home she had left ; expressed a strong desire to return to it 
again. Every thing she saw seemed so very strange to her, 
and the severe restrictions so mysterious to her frightened 
sensibilities, she thought herself in a worse house than she in- 
deed was, if such a thing is possible. They wanted her to 
increase the number of gratuitous laborers in the work-room; 
took her there, and required her to go to work with the rest. 
She sat down and looked distressed, at last rose up suddenly, 
exclaimed with a voice and look of terror, " Oh, what kind 
of a place have they brought me to ?" then rushed suddenly 
head foremost from the window, into eternity 1 Oh, reign 
of terror 1 reign of terror I 1 



XIL 
Reign of Terror ended. ^ 

u My soul be on thy guard." 

Scenes of tumult and terror now so frequently succeeded 
each other, that no one felt that life was safe. With nothing 
to afford hope, no avenues to the world no amusements to 
relieve the ever thickening horrors of such a destiny, a look 
of fixed discontent now sat on every countenance. Our an- 



78 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

niversaries came and left us, with nothing to give us either 
joy or change, except a slight change at dinner. 

Thanksgiving ! Oh what thrilling memories of my New 
England life were awakened by the arrival of this brightest, 
best, most joyous of all New England days ! Oh New Eng- 
land ! when will these charms, engraven on my deathless 
memory, no less than the bold and glorious pictures of thy 
rocks and hills and everlasting mountains, upon my fadeless 
vision, when again will these realizations return with all their 
golden glories unmarred by the horrible discord of these 
grating locks and keys ? And now Thanksgiving has come 
and gone, but the tormenting specters evolved by busy 
memories have not left us ! 

Winter has come, yet the heart sickness, which arose 
from hope deferred; the sense of utter loneliness which clung 
to every aching heart ; the utter isolation of spirit, the slow 
wearing away and undermining of every tie that bound us to 
earthly existence; oh this it was that made up the deepest, 
darkest, heaviest gloom of that cold December, the saddest 
month of the year. Hour after hour wore away, in the un- 
blest monotony of that dim, shadowy spectral semblance of 
life I Deeper and still deeper grew the sadness on the many 
silent faces of these daughters of affliction. They were 
thinking, thinking, thinking. 

At last this reverie was broken by the loud summons of the 
supper bell, which announced that we were now to take our 
last meal in the year. We once more congregated around 
our unsocial board ; but little was said ; yet the faces of all 
silently but eloquently spoke the burning thoughts within. 
After supper, we were immediately remanded to our rooms, 
and locked up as usual, to spend the long evening as best we 
might, in darkness, cold, and silence. I muffled my shawl 
around me, and sat several hours that memorable evening, 
brooding over the mournful past, and querying vainly of the 
unprophetic future. The bell heavily chimed out its last 
hour ! and another year had departed forever. 

The New Year came the New Yearl that day so full of 



EEIGN OF TERROR ENDED 79 

inspiration and rejoicing to every place on Christian earth, 
outside of prison walls ! to us it brought only a protraction 
of our reign of terror ! the same revolting scenes were daily 
and hourly repeated ; the same restrictions, the same ever- 
lasting espionage, the same threats, and disgusting horrors 1 

At this time, one, bolder than the rest, by some means es- 
caped, and attempted to run away. The alarm was given, 
and the "watch-dogs" were out. By these she was speedily 
overtaken, forced back to the Asylum, and condemned to 
solitary confinement as her punishment. 

Two others ran away not long after this scene. One was 
a widow, a young and very beautiful lady of excellent talents 
and a very cheerful disposition. She was not insane as I 
could discover at the time, though much dejected by grief for 
the death of her brave and much loved husband who had died 
in the army. Soon after hearing this afflictive intelligence, 
she became ill with a fever, and this was probably, as is often 
the case, accompanied with temporary delirium. Her friends, 
not knowing how to treat either the fever or its consequent 
delirium, which they thought insanity, found a convenient 
way of getting rid of their responsibility, by handing her 
over to the care of "our accomplished Superintendent," to re- 
ceive her three hundredth share of his attentions. (There 
are three hundred in the Asylum.) 

Here it had been her destiny to remain for many months ; 
and feeling very anxious for the welfare of her children at 
home, and moreover, being indefinitely put off by the most 
silly excuses, and reprehensible delays, she at last assumed 
the responsibility of asserting those rights, which nature had 
given her of finding and taking care of her own babes. 

She was accompanied by a kindred spirit, another widow, 
whose husband had also laid down his life upon our bleeding 
country's sacrificial altar. Neither was this person insane 
that I could discover ; I believe she was several times the 
subject of some harmless trances. But I think she did a 
very sane action in trying to free herself from bondage. 
Their plan succeeded so well, that, after traveling six miles, 



80 THE PEISONEK'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

they were overtaken by a kind hearted teamster, who by the 
request of the now much wearied travelers, took them into 
his conveyance, and listening sympathetically to their truth- 
ful tale of distress, carried them on their way until overtaken 
by their remorseless pursuers. 

On their return, one of these was sentenced to one of the 
lower prison wards, and the other brought to our hall in the 
Eighth ward. Hers was a most courageous spirit ; she even 
smiled on entering our hall, determining to disappoint her 
victorious captors by showing herself unrevengeful, and in 
no wise bowed in spirit, or humiliated! Therefore, instead of 
complaining that she was deprived of all her privileges in the 
privileged Seventh ward, and sentenced to the noisy tumults 
of the maniac's ward, she daily evinced the most pleasant 
and cheerful deportment. Mrs. Davis was very beautiful 
and musical, and withal a decided wit; so benevolent too, so 
unaffectedly kind that she would often relate some amusing 
story, or use her most musical and enchanting voice by sing- 
ing for the entertainment of the desponding, when her own 
heart was full of unutterable sorrow for her own griefs. If 
this cheerful and most noble-hearted woman was "insane," I 
wish every woman in the land possessed such an "insanity !" 

But with all her heroic attempts to throw off the benumb- 
ing influence of affliction, she did suffer most keenly in mind 
at her disappointment in not being permitted to see her dar- 
ling children. This feeling, together with the over-exhaus- 
tion of so long a walk, soon brought on a fever. I used every 
morning, and many times in the day to visit her, that I might 
assist her if possible, and also learn from her those beautiful 
lessons taught by her trusting faith and hopefulness. As she 
lay, day after day, on her bed of suffering, surrounded by the 
noisy and filthy, of whose annoyances I never knew her to 
complain, I had never beheld a more perfect example of pa- 
tience. But I burned with indignation at the ignorance of a 
community, in the very country her husband had fought and 
died to protect, that his beloved young wife could not her- 
self be protected from such shameful abuses as those she suf- 
fered here. 



REIGN OF TERROR ENDED. 81 

A few weeks after her recovery, she went home. Could she 
have gone at the time she had started, or previously, instead 
of being punished in prison for thus braving danger for the 
love of her children, she might have escaped the fever. Our 
reign of terror augmented to such a degree, that I did not 
deem it safe to enter the dining hall, even when the door 
was left open, for a glass of water for the suffering Mrs. 
Davis, without humbly asking liberty of Lizzy to do so ! 
We all felt ourselves hotly pursued by the enemy. Only the 
wild and reckless scarcely dared to breathe. They indeed, 
like the mad Saul of Tarsus, in his fruitless attempts to de- 
stroy Christianity, dared to "breathe out threatenings and 
slaughter," not against Christ, or any of his followers, but 
against our Asylum prison-keepers and their abettors in the 
unjust embodiment of State Legislation ! 

In this our painful emergency, we could not appeal to Dr. 
Tenny. He was absent on some mission, and we had long 
since ceased to hope for the least assistance from any other 
officer. 

At every opportunity, we banded together in little secret 
societies, in earnest, agonizing consultation. One proposed 
that all who were reliable should combine together, and 
when the attendants were out of sight, and the Super- 
intendent in the hall, we should unite upon an agreed 
signal in an attack upon himself. We were to form around 
him; then one of the strongest in our number was to confine 
his mouth by her hand, to keep him from calling for aid; 
others, on each side, were to secure his limbs, and then we 
were to demand our liberty at the peril of his life. Several 
of the bolder wished at once to act upon this programme; 
others objected; so we decided to adjourn for further consid- 
eration. At our next meeting the infeasibility of this plan 
was eloquently presented by one of the speakers, and the 
final fate of this bill was to be unanimously voted down. 
We knew if so bold a scheme should fail of practical success, 
we should be subjected to the most fearful tortures as punish- 
ments. 4A 



82 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

At last one of our number, a very intelligent married lady, 
discovered after much painful thought, an expedient which 
did much to alleviate our sufferings, by causing to be essen- 
tially relaxed the fierce discipline to which we were sub- 
jected. Let those who may blame us for acting upon this, 
remember that we were fighting for our lives. Compelled 
as we were to inhale the poisonous gases from so many dis- 
eased bodies while sleeping so near each other, and the still 
deadlier exhalations arising from typhoid and other fevers, 
ulcerated lungs, and fetid sores, all confined in one hall; 
we felt, that between the above influences, and the sudden 
blows and violence which all the time menaced us, by the 
fierce maniacs and their fiercer keeper, that our lives were 
most essentially imperilled. Our liberty, even the liberty 
of speech and writing had all been taken away, and we 
wished for emancipation from this inexorable thraldom with 
an agony of desire that none but the victims of such a. bon- 
dage can ever appreciate. 

The proposition now under consideration, was, that we 
should make a general onslaught or campaign against the 
State's property, and in various ways, destroy all we possibly 
could, without discovery. Thus we should make apparent 
to our persecutor, that this most desperate movement was 
but the natural and legitimate result of his own extreme 
severity to his victims that it was the complete despera- 
tion of our circumstances which evolved this "military ne- 
cessity.'' The plan was presented to me for my individual 
sanction I did not advise the measure ; always maintaining 
that it was better to suffer than to do wrong, and that it was 
wrong to waste or destroy property; that I did not believe 
in doing evil that good might come. They then asked me 
as I did not see fit to join in the enterprise if I intended to 
expose those who saw fit to do so. "No," replied I," depend 
on my honor; I do not advise such proceedings, nor will I 
join in them; yet neither will I betray you, whatever injury 
you may inflict upon the property of the State, provided you 
will be sure, in your depredations, not to hurt any person." 



REIGN OF TERROR ENDED. 83 

They were satisfied; plans were now all arranged, and I ob- 
served as the plot thickened, so did also the affected tran- 
quillity on the faces of the plotters become more apparent. 

Sunday was the day this military strategy reached its de- 
velopement in action. The attendant went to church, leav- 
ing but a slight guard in her place. And now, when unob- 
served, the exploit began bed-comforters, blankets, and nice 
expensive bed-spreads were torn into long narrow strips, and 
these strips dexterously coiled or wound up on the finger, 
and then, one by one, squeezed into little openings through 
some of the ventilating vacancies, or some other tight place, 
whence they could not " return to tell the tale." Sheets, 
towels, and bed ticks followed in the rear of destruction. 
Pillows were ripped open, and their contents emptied from 
the window in a brisk gale of wind. The person who did 
this, called me to see the edifying spectacle. The wind was 
an auxiliary, and so scattered the feathers, like the flakes of 
a coarse snow storm, that no outsider could tell from which 
of all the numerous windows the rejected feathers were cast 
out. 

When our attendant reappeared, as she gradually discov- 
ered what had been transpiring in her luckless absence, it 
was equal to a theatrical performance to witness. her con- 
sternation. She fluttered around from room to room, shaking 
her ominous keys, and slamming the doors, as she vainly 
sought to discover the authors of the "raid." She stormed 
and raved; then raved and stormed, and threatened; the fury 
in her eye indicating that she was longing to strike some- 
body; but alas, on this emergency, she didn't know who to 
strike, the most vigilant inquiries she was able to make only 
eliciting that nobody knew anything about it. At last, she 
came to the conclusion as she vexatiously expressed it, " I 
believe the divil's at the bottom of it all." 

The reply elicited by this remark with most' provoking 
coolness by one of the patients was, "You must be right, in 
your conjecture Lizzy ; I think, undoubtedly, that the devil 
is indeed at the bottom of it all." 



84 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Poor Lizzy I she did not know how much we enjoyed her 
distress ! Monday morning came, and soap was in requisi- 
tion. ''Where's the soap?" roared Lizzy, but no one deemed 
it expedient to inform her that its use had been misapplied, 
and diverted considerably from its appropriate function. 
Many bars had mysteriously disappeared; and this reminds 
me that I have read in agricultural papers that soap suds 
when mixed with other enriching substances proves an ex- 
cellent fertilizer 1 

Respecting the fate of the nice new blankets, on Lizzy's 
earnest inquiry of the very person who destroyed them, the 
latter very gravely informed her that the devil appeared to 
her in the night and carried them away ! Skeins of expen- 
sive sewing silk, and spools of thread next vanished mysteri- 
ously from the work-room, and were found tangled up in in- 
extricable confusion. "Spirits," were accused of abducting 
them away. 

One day, a large quantity of brooms had been purchased, 
and deposited in a closet connected with the wash room. I 
once saw one of " the initiated" go to these brooms with a 
pair of scissors, and cut the strong threads, used to bind the 
broom together. This was effected so adroitly, that nothing 
unusual was discovered, and broom after broom was made 
the object of this destructive operation, while keen eyes were 
watching to be sure that none of the ". powers that be" were 
in sight. At last the mischief was completed upon the un- 
resisting brooms, with no sign left to tell the tale. But. by 
all the observers, who in those watchful days were not few, 
it was noticed, that while used in sweeping, behold these 
new brooms evinced a strong disposition to scatter themselves 
in liberal disintegrations over the floor. Some remarked 
that these last new brooms must be a cheat, were very 
badly made. These unfortunate brooms, thus voted below 
par, I fear did not bring much credit to their manufacturers, 
since, without living out half their days, they were rapidly 
becoming smaller and beautifully less until quite demolished. 
A new supply was soon ordered, but whether from the same 



REIGN OF TERROR ENDED. 85 

establishment as were their unfortunate predecessors, depo- 
nent saith not. 

After the completion of this exploit, an attack was made 
upon glass and crockery. This required more circumspec- 
tion, but for this new freak of madness, there was on hand a 
new method ! In order to give the destructive smash to 
these doomed articles, they would take opportunity, either 
when the great Asylum bell was ringing, or when some of the 
screamers were blowing their blast, or on some other of those 
noisy occasions which so frequently occur, and then, just at 
the right signal, the deed was accomplished. 

In this manner, windows, looking glasses goblets, and 
crockery, were dashed upon the floor, at different times, on all 
possible safe occasions. Tea-spoons, knives and forks, were 
stealthily taken from the table, and thrown out of the win- 
dow ; clothing and curtains torn and mutilated, doors were 
smashed, cushions opened, the walls were scratched and strange 
literature in conspicuous places written there 1 It was as- 
tonishing how many opportunities they had in which to effect 
their plans, in triumphant defiance of all our vigilant guar- 
dians. Lizzy, when obliged to leave the hall, would 
never re-enter stealthily, to give us a horrible and ghastly 
surprise, but always with a kind of flourish of trumpets, that 
warned us, in timely season, of the edifying magnetism of 
her presence. The noisy furor of her ever clattering keys, 
and the clamorous bang of the great ponderous doors, were 
of the character of those ancient trumpets, which certainly 
did not give an uncertain sound ! These preliminary cir- 
cumstances, always accompanying Lizzy's advent, were very 
skilfully turned to account in the service of the very ones 
they were meant to intimidate, giving them a chance to leave 
the scene of military activity, and glide quickly to a remote 
part of the hall. There they would assume an expression of 
most unedifying ignorance, as though the very possibility of 
doing mischief were as foreign from their minds, as the thought 
of " thy servant's being a dog, " was to Hazael of an- 
tiquity. 



86 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LITE. 

These events kept our unfortunate attendant in a most un- 
enviable condition of mental derangement ! In her search 
for the authors of the mischief, she at last applied to me. 
"This mischief," said she, " can't all go on without your 
knowing something about it. I know you can tell, if you're 
a mind to say; do you know who broke that glass?" "I did 
not break it myself," said I, "and if I knew who did, certainly 
should not report them, and thus subject them to punishment. 
They suffer enough now." She declined questioning me fur- 
ther, and pushed her researches in all other directions, but 
with no better success. As the case had now become intol- 
erable, the whole proceeding was at last reported to the 
matron. 

She received the intelligence with much consternation. 
"This will never do" said she, "this must be stopped or the State 
will find it out, and find fault with us. You must find the 
guilty ones, and have them sent to the Fifth ward." Again 
I was questioned, "Mrs. McFarland," I replied, "I do know 
who has done these things, but do not intend to expose them. 
I would sooner be sentenced to the Fifth ward myself than 
bring such a doom on any of these patients, so please do not 
question me, for I do assure you, I will not inform against 
these defenceless sufferers." She importuned me no further, 
bnt ordered all the attendants to keep up the most vigilant 
watch over all our motions. This was done, but still the 
disorders continued with scarcely any abatement, and so 
adroitly was it consummated, that not the slightest clue 
could be obtained to these mysterious "under-ground rail- 
road" operations. I saw hundreds of dollars worth of prop- 
erty destroyed, but did not I also daily see far worse sights 
in the destruction of health, of liberty, of reason, of life and 
of human rights, caused directly by the power of our mis- 
guided State over the helpless victims of its would be bene- 
ficence. I could not remedy these far more deplorable evils, 
therefore the existence of an incomparably smaller evil, the 
destruction of the State's property, I confess gave me little 
uneasiness. Dr. McFarland himself, by his fierce restrictions 



REIGN OF TERROR ENDED. 87 

and severities, was the only one really responsible in this 
case, therefore I should have been guilty of the deepest base- 
ness had I caused his helpless victims to suffer a punishment 
which I felt that he alone deserved. 

It was discovered at last, that these depredations were 
committed in consequence of the desperation to which the 
sufferers in that hall were reduced, to extreme trials caused 
by the tyranny of our keeper ! The Doctor saw his mistake 
in drawing our reins so tightly, and fearing they might snap 
entirely, saw it for his own interest and safety to relax them. 
Orders were suddenly given that walks might again be al- 
lowed, company again permitted to visit us, and that in sev- 
eral other particulars more lenity should be shown. Doctor 
Tenny at last returned, and a general amnesty ensued, at 
least we felt that we were reinforced. Hope began to re- 
vive and the mischief at last ceased. 

After the expiration of our reign of terror, the leader of 
the mischief confessed it herself to the authorities, and promised 
voluntarily that she would do nothing more of the kind. 
She expressed her willingness to be punished, but would not 
expose one of the rest to share her fate. If a particle of hu- 
manity had been alive in our Superintendent, he would at 
least, have put her upon trial; but instead of a pardon or a 
reprieve, behold a straight-jacket was brought with impera- 
tive orders that it be put upon her, and she forthwith assigned 
to the Fifth ward ! One of the patients rushed to me, with 
eyes filled with tears, and told me of this fearful decree. I 
could not believe it, till I went into the hall and saw its ex- 
ecution ! There stood Bonner, extending the jacket, while 
she informed the victim of her doom. "We expected to see 
resistance and one of the terrible staight-jacket battles. 
But this heroic woman prevented this by saying, " I will not 
resist you, I will go. Don't pinion my arms. I will do it my 
self." She then put on the jacket as readily, and with as 
much apparent cheerfulness as if it were a comfortable gar- 
ment, instead of an instrument of torture, then turned 
around for Lizzy to lace it up behind. Bidding us good-bye 



88 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

with a kind and cheerful tone, she asked us to pray for her, 
and calmly and courageously followed her attendant to her 
dreary Fifth ward prison ! 

I have read of Columbus in chains before the monarchs of 
Europe ; of Socrates in prison by order of the dignitaries 
of ancient Greece ; of Luther before the Diet of Worms, 
defending in the face of the world the principles of religious 
liberty; of Galileo in his cold prison declaring, "it still moves;" 
but I believe the heroism of these martyrs was excelled by 
that of this most noble woman, who rather than expose her 
fellows to punishment, cheerfully took it upon herself, know- 
ing well that a doom of horror there awaited her. 

Her departure caused a general gloom in the hall. Her 
health was suffering, and we feared she would not be able to 
survive the treatment, and the deadly malarious atmosphere 
of the Fifth ward. In a few days she became very sick with 
fever, and having no proper care, she lingered several weeks 
in great suffering. She expressed a wish that I might be al- 
lowed to visit her, but this of course, was not permitted. 
She was one of the kindest hearted persons I ever saw. If 
some of our modern fashionable Christians, who in times of re-- 
vival have so much to say about coming out from the world 
and taking up the cross, would visit the sufferers of that 
Fifth ward, they would there learn by some of its inmates, 
what "coming out from the world " and taking up the "cross 
of Christ " really means. 

The very bold measures taken by this heroine, destructive 
to property as they were, were prompted by benevolence. 
This was not her first attempt at redress. She had reasoned 
and remonstrated, and begged and implored both Doctor and 
Mrs. McFarland that they would show mercy and lenity to 
the patients in their care-. She had in my hearing, exhausted 
all efforts of this kind that could be applied, before she coun- 
selled or perpetrated any mischief to the property of the 
State ; this was done as a last resort. She concluded as all 
other means had failed, she could scare the Doctor into milder 
measures, and indeed suceeded to thus procure for us a re- 



WIVES AND HUSBANDS. 89 

striction of severities, and a much more ample latitude of 
privileges. As her punishment for thus benefitting us, it was 
her doom to languish in, that revolting purgatory for many 
weeks, with a suffering borne, as even her attendant admitted, 
with uncomplaining patience ! She was not allowed to send 
any intelligence to her husband who was all this time kept 
in ignorance of her condition. But he visited her at last, 
and had the good sense to remove her at once. He told me 
he should never, under any circumstances, take his wife to a 
Lunatic Asylum again. He found the nice little sum of 
fifty dollars charged for the destruction of property of which 
I have spoken, but as I heard Mrs. McFarland say, he said 
he wouldn't pay a cent. Glad of it 1 If our State is willing 
its property should be wasted in that way, I think it not out 
of place to let the hard working taxpayers know it. 



XIII. 
Wives and Husbands. 

" Wives and husbands there must part." 

Returning from a walk one day with others, I observed, 
on coming up the long flight of stairs, a scene which gave 
my feelings a severe shock. The attendant evidently did 
not wish us to see this, for she kept hurrying us along to our 
hall, but the circumstances were such we could not help it. 
A husband who that morning had made a brief visit to his 
wife, was then taking leave of her. She failed to recognise 
the propriety of being left, and wished to return to her home 
with her husband. She entreated him, with tears that ceased 
not flowing, to let her go home and see her children. " Oh 
husband dear, do let me go home ; I don't want to stay here 
any longer, it don't do me any good, I must go, I must 
live at home with you and my children. Dear, dear husband, 
do not leave me here !" The husband hesitated, looked at 
her streaming tears, then at the door; he lingered; there was 



90 

an evident struggle in his mind. Perhaps he thought of his 
courtship life, of all her youthful charms ere her toiling 
fidelity to him had faded the early beauty from that now pale 
cheek and tear-dimmed eye. Perhaps he remembered love's 
promises, his marriage vow of everlasting protection and 
union of home and interests. Perhaps he thought of God's 
injunction "they twain shall be one," perhaps ah ! I know 
not what cogitations were in his mind. The agitated wife 
perceiving his indecision, seizing the advantage, took his arm 
within her own, and embracing him, exclaimed again, in tones 
of agony, " husband, I must, I must go home with you, do 
not, do not leave me here !" 

Several of the officials of the Asylum were standing near, 
the husband had evidently been receiving instruction from 
them instead of his own conscience ; then with one violent 
effort, he disengaged himself from the trembling grasp of the 
pleading wife, left her and walked hastily down the stairs. 
In her anguish she sank down powerless upon the floor, and 
was dragged by two men, still gazing after her husband's re- 
ceding form, to all the horrors of locks, keys, and imprison- 
ments ! 

We all returned to our hall in sadness and silence, the at- 
tendant soon left. When we found ourselves unwatched, one 
said, " 0, how could that man have the heart to leave her, 
when she so begged to go with him?" Another replied, that 
" he had been befooled by the Doctor who had told him it 
would not be safe to take her home." Said a third, "what a 
fool a man must be, to let another man judge between him- 
self and his wife ! he ought to have known himself whether 
she should have gone home. If he wanted to go and attend 
to his affairs, he ought to have considered that she had the 
same right, for his home duties and her own were the same." 
Another spoke with apparent disgust, in her turn, to the 
last speaker. " Do you think such husbands possess the fa- 
culty of consideration ! I don't agree with you, it appears 
to me that all their own consideration, all their faculty of in- 
dependent thinking has become weakened if not destroyed 






WIVES AND HUSBANDS. 91 

when they give up to the stupid prejudice that another man 
can better guide a woman than her own husband 1" Said 
another voice, "now they will call this poor woman noisy 
and excited, say it hurts her to have her friends visit her, be- 
cause she can not help crying and grieving about his leaving 
her ; then they will put her down into a lower ward, where 
of course she will grow worse, and may become incurable. 
Yes, this is the way they do here; I wish the public knew it." 

" My God !" echoed yet another hitherto silent voice, " it 
makes me shudder to think how many splendid minds are 
made incurable lunatics, or worried into a sickness which ends 
in death, by just these barbarous means !" 

At this stage of the colloquy, our attendant re-entered 
the hall. The conversation here ended, but our thoughts 
did not end. The stupid thoughtlessness with which a hus- 
band can commit to other hands, the wife of his bosom, when 
distracted or enfeebled in body or mind, is utterly unaccount- 
able. No one would trust a valuable horse to be stabled 
without knowing something of the treatment he would be 
likely to receive. "Would you, farmers, commit one to 
strangers of whom you knew nothing beyond the fact that 
they are public stable-keepers ! Would you send even a 
horse to a stable, and permit him to remain for months and 
even years without visiting, or at least sending some one to 
visit the animal ! Would you not fear he might be cheated 
out of the proper quantity of oats or other food that he 
might be exposed to contagious diseases from other horses in 
his vicinity, or that in some way, his value might be dimin- 
ished ? Would it be a safe experiment thus to commit even 
a horse to the mercy of fortuitous influences? How is it then, 
that you give less care to your tender wife ? 

Did you tell her, when a lover, that you could not engage, 
in all future circumstances, to give her as much attention as 
your animals should receive? Was it among your lover's 
vows, in your sacred moonlight rambles, that if she became 
insane , you would desert her that you would love and 
cherish her, and share her destiny " till death us do part," 



92 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

on condition that she would retain her youth and beauty un- 
impaired; but that, if these, or if health or reason should 
fail, you would consign her to some other man ? 0, no, such 
was not your sacred vow! What did you promise her? I 
was not there listening under the hedgerow; I did not witness 
your sacred vows before marriage; I only witness how you 
fulfil them afterwards ! But you know what you did promise, 
and she knows, and God knows. 



XIV. 
The Insanity of Orthodoxy. 

" A guilty, weak and helpless worm." 

Another lady who interested me much was a Mrs. Brown, 
who belonged to a peculiar class of minds. She was a mel- 
ancholic. Her insanity consisted in an excess of piety. I 
do not mean by this expression, an excess of Christian prin- 
ciple, for I know not how any one can possess the calm, self- 
balanced and benevolent disposition of Jesus in excess. 
But I mean an excess of those internal emotions that an erro- 
neous system of theology had taught her to consider essen 
tial to salvation. She was a victim of ultra orthodoxy. 
Mrs. Brown was able to converse intelligently on all other 
subjects with which she was acquainted, but when religion 
was alluded to, she would be filled with doubts and fears, and 
overcome with the most distressing apprehension in view of 
the sins of her own heart. If any sins were cherished there, 
nobody I think outside of herself had discovered it. She 
was a pattern of the strictest honesty, conscienstiousness and 
fidelity, and very affectionate and kind to every one. Never 
repining or complaining of her own sufferings, but ever ready 
with words and deeds of kindness to others, she had become 
very dear to me, as also to many others. Yet this most ex- 
emplary person looked upon herself as the chief of sinners, 
and upon her own heart, as the centre and nucleus of de- 



INSANITY OF ORTHODOXY. 93 

pravity and emnity to God sufficient to justly sink her soul 
to everlasting condemnation ! Every morning, for many 
weeks, she would come to my door and rap; then, with stream- 
ing tears and a voice trembling with a sense of her unworthi- 
ness, would entreat me to pray for her, and to say something 
comforting "to strengthen her faith" as she expressed it. She 
came so frequently upon these errands, that I confess it 
sometimes annoyed me, especially, when suffering, as I often 
did, from headache. 

But I never permitted her even to suspect that she was 
troublesome, fearing it would increase her sense of her over- 
whelming guilt and sins of heart I She would present her 
requests in a form like this, "Do you think there can be any 
mercy for me ? Can you think of any comforting verse in 
the bible that will apply to my case ?" 

"0, yes, Mrs. Brown, ' come unto me, all ye that labor 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest I love them 
that love me and those that seek me early shall find me.' " 

" "Well, but can you suppose that such an unworthy sinner 
as I love God ?" 

" Certainly you do; you love God better than I do, and 
better than most people, else you would not care whether 
you pleased him or not. And you seek him early too. You 
are up every morning even before light, and before you are 
half dressed seeking how to find Christ, even of poor unwor- 
thy me. Surely you love God and seek him early too, there- 
fore it is clear to my mind that these comforting passages do 
apply to you case." 

She thanked me, smiled through her tears, and returned to 
her own room to dress for breakfast. Similar scenes occurred 
every morning, only less and less easy did they become to 
me, for, as she expected a fresh instalment of comfort, in the 
shape of another new verse, I sometimes began to fear that 
my memory would be exhaused of the requisite supply. I 
one day said to her, '' Doctor Tenny is a good Christian, 
and some of the attendants here, I hope are so too, why don't 
you go to them for comfort perhaps they could more readily 
reach your case than I can." 



94 

She hesitated, then said, "0, it seems as if you understand 
me better than they do, 0, you are certainly going to heaven! 
but I " here she broke down completely and wept so incon- 
solably, that I determined never again to give her the 
slightest repulse whatever my own condition might be. The 
next morning before I had had time to quite dress myself, she 
came to my room and began to apologise and begged to know 
if I could suggest any consolation for the trials of mind she 
had suffered all night. " "When thou passest through the 
waters I will be with thee, the mountains shall depart, and 
the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from 
thee." At another time, " Fear not, for I am thy God." 

"Are you sure this is for me?" she queried in a voice of 
tremulous agitation. 

"Perfectly sure, else I should not have so readily thought 
of it." Again she went away rejoicing, and promised by my 
request, to apply those verses, every time her doubts and 
fears arose. So I labored with her daily, and found, weary- 
ing as this often was, in my weak health, that it afforded 
much benefit to me. It partially diverted my mind from my 
own sorrows to see others with far more distressing woes than 
my own. I did not expect to be punished in an eternal hell 
after death, while this poor sufferer did. So I could not 
help trying all possible ways to relieve such apprehensions. 

On one occasion, when this afflicted woman seemed unusu- 
ally cast down with her imaginary bundle of sin, I said to 
her, as I saw her approaching " 0, Mrs. Brown, let not your 
heart be troubled." " Our light affliction, etc." 

"Did that verse come to you for me?" she eagerly asked. 

" Certainly, it came right into my mind just for you, for I 
thought of it the instant I saw you. And now every day, so 
soon as I see you coming, I think of some similar verse ; it 
comes without studying for it." This last was an essential 
point with her, as she construed it into an evidence of her ac- 
ceptance. 

After a while, her visits became more frequent; she would 
several times a day obtain permission of her attendant to 



INSANITY OF ORTHODOXY. 95 

come into our hall on these errands. Sometimes she would 
come to my door and linger and hesitate, as if fearful of be- 
ing annoying; if I did not anticipate her wishes, she would 
say, " You know what I want, can't you give me a little con- 
solation ?" I was often put to my wit's end to do this, yet, 
as I did not mean that any impediment shonld baffle me in 
my thorough investigation of the philosophy of insanity and 
of its cure also, I tried again, this time changing my tactics 
somewhat. I once said to her, "Mrs. Brown, you are de- 
ceived respecting me ; I am far from being so good a Chris- 
tian as you suppose. Now let me tell you of my condition. 
I am a poor miserable sinner, you can not imagine what a 
sinner I have beon at home, and how terribly sinful my heart 
is here, only I have not the power to act it out. Why I be- 
have so badly at home, that my poor husband can not live 
with me, and I trouble my other friends so much, that they 
cannot endure my society either. Now do you think there 
can be any mercy for such a sinner as I am, Mrs. Brown." 

She forgot her own enormous load of guilt, and stared at 
me with the utmost astonishment. This diverted her mind, 
and this was just what I wished to do. Then, having fairly 
aroused her curiosity, I went on describing the longest and 
most terrible catalogue of short-comings, back-slidings and 
coldness in duty, all terrible sins to her, that I could possibly 
make out against myself, and wound up the tale by asking 
her again if she thought it possible that I could ever be for- 
given ! 

She hardly knew what to say; but I found to my great 
pleasure, that, before we had finished this colloquy, she was 
actually suggesting consolation to me ! 

Now, I mentally soliloquized, if these methods, instead 
of the Lunatic Asylum system of compulsory obedience, 
fearful punishments, and unreasonable restrictions, oould be 
allowed to prevail; that is, if a system could be devised by 
which the minds of the patients could be diverted from their 
own insane ideas, by calling to aid other and long dormant 
faculties of mind, the result must be that a new channel of 



96 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

thought would be awakened, and by this process being per 
severingly applied, the insane ideas would be starved out for 
want of any thing to feed them, and the new process of 
thought thus brought to bear upon demented intellect, would 
in short, cure insanity ! This was my theory, and I acted 
upon it successfully in every case, so far as I had the 
power. 

But I noticed with pain, that whenever it was discovered 
that I was trying experiments so contrary to their own, they 
would invariably interfere, and thus my attempts were frus- 
trated. 

One day, when the gentle and pious mind of Mrs. Brown 
had been greatly distressed by being compelled to witness 
the terrible scenes of abuse and oppression so constant there, 
she came to me with her griefs. She made no complaint of 
the abuse to which she was witness, but was suffering much 
under a fresh exhibition of the sins of her own rebellious 
heart. "My grace is sufficient for thee," said I, " blessed are 
the poor in spirit for they shall be comforted. Don't you think 
these are comforting words Mrs. Brown?" 

" 0, yes, if they only applied to me how can you be cer- 
tain that they dc ?" 

"Every good and every perfect gift is from above," I re- 
plied; now a good thought is a good gift, so that proves it is 
from God; and it is for you, I know, because it came to me 
the moment I saw you. Now I am impressed from the same 
good Spirit to tell you that you must be happy all day, on 
the basis of these consoling verses sent so directly to you. 
You must not suffer yourself again to sink down into the 
Slough of Despond. 

She would always express gratitude and go away in smiles, 
or at least with a very comfortable degree of tranquility. I 
have not the slightest doubt that I could have seen much 
more perfected fruits of my theory of curing insanity exem- 
plified, could I have been allowed to prosecute my scheme, 
uninterrupted by the conflicting system of the Superinten- 
dent. Yet disturbed as I was, there occurred daily sufficient 



HOW TO MAKE INCURABLES. 97 

to convince me that reason is better than authority applied 
to minds already groaning under an overdose of the latter, 
while the former has been sadly wanting. 

Now I wish to ask what in the terrible discipline to which 
Mrs. Brown, was subjected, was calculated to erase from her 
mind these dread forebodings ? I believe its tendency was 
to confirm them, for she evidently looked upon the revolting 
scenes surrounding her, in contrast with the abundance, 
peace and comfort of the dear home she had left, as the just 
deserts of her terrible sins. She often said she deserved 
nothing better, and had no reason to complain 



XT. 
How to make Incurables. 

" I have battled with my agony." 

One day a patient received a letter from her aged mother, 
in which the latter entreated her to write. "Let me know" 
wrote the mother, "without delay, if you are alive. I hardly 
know if I have a daughter, it is so long since I have heard 
from you." 

The daughter addressed, showed this letter to me, and with 
overflowing tears, besought me to use my influence with the 
Superintendent, that she might be permitted to answer this 
letter. I told her I had no influence whatever with the 
Superintendent, but would try to procure the consent of 
Doctor Tenny to let her write. I also exhorted her to be 
watchful over her own conduct, and try to control the occa- 
sional vagaries of her mind; in short, to use every possible 
endeavor to preserve her sanity and her patience. She made 
the most commendable attempts to do this for several weeks, 
and my hopes were sanguine respecting her. I first saw her 
in the Fifth ward. She was walking the hall, pale, haggard, 
hopeless, and constantly biting the ends of her fingers. Her 



US THE PRISONERS HIDDEN LIFE. 

dress was ragged, her hair uncombed, and her whole appear- 
a.nce indicated a mind on the verge of despair. 

In this condition I first tried to open to her the avenues of 
hope. In the absence of our attendant, at stealthy conver- 
sations, I discovered that she possessed excellent talents, 
was a good scholar, and had formerly moved in an elevated 
sphere of life. She was the only daughter of a physician; 
had in early life married a man of wealth and ambition, with 
whom she had lived happily for several years, and who had 
loaded her with comforts and luxuries. Subsequently, the 
tide of her fortune was reversed ; misfortune came with 
swift and heavy shocks, upon her devoted head. Her affec- 
tionate father was laid in the grave. She lost her husband, 
to whom she was most tenderly attached, by the most terrible 
of all deaths, the death of his affections to herself. 

Won by the fascinations of another, in an evil hour, he had 
deserted her forever, leaving three helpless babes upon her 
care, with no means of support. One by one these lovely 
children had all been laid in their graves, and the mother was 
left in the terrible loneliness of the heart's deepest desola- 
tion. No wonder the energies of her mind at last gave way; 
that the haunting images of her heart's lost treasures were 
ever before her eyes. Her health sunk, she was unable 
longer to combat successfully the tide of her terrible calami- 
ties. In this crisis, her own brother, instead of being her 
comforter, blamed her for not retaining the perfection of her 
energies, and turned against her in the most heartless manner. 
She now became unable longer to baffle adversity, and having 
no pecuniary resources left, was reduced to the necessity of 
accepting a home in a miserable county alms-house. Some 
time after leaving the "Asylum," I went into the vicinity 
where these events occurred, and after diligently inquiring, 
found all the statements of her history she had made to me, 
corroborated. 

In my first interview with her, observing how she had lac- 
erated her fingers by constantly gnawing them, in her agony 
of mind, I suggested "now let me wrap up your fingers, and 



HOW TO MAKE INCURABLES. 99 

I want yon to promise me not again to put them in your 
mouth. Will you solemnly promise this, and keep your 
word ?" She complied, and I soon procured some rags, and 
bound up her bleeding fingers. 

" Now," said she, " I want you to make a promise to 
me." 

" What is it?" said I, " most happy should I be to do any- 
thing possible to relieve your condition." 

" 0, promise me," she entreated with earnest emphasis, 
" that you will never speak to me, nor take the least notice 
of me in the presence of Lizzy Bonner." 

" Why should I promise this ? you possess an intelligent 
mind, an immortal soul, you have been a great sufferer, and 
still remain so. I dislike to treat you with disrespect or neg- 
lect in the presence of any one." 

" If Lizzy sees you trying to make me happy, she will feel 
reproved because she has never done so herself. She will 
hate and ill treat you worse than she does now; and more 
than that, she will separate us, and thus deprive you of all 
opportunity to carry out your kind intentions respecting 
me." 

I saw in this response, so much sanity, and gratitude; so 
much in her mind worth cultivating, that it confirmed my de- 
termination to benefit this most deeply suffering woman if 
possible. 

I can not here recount the experiments I tried, to aid her 
in bringing back to its full triumph, her wavering reason and 
self-control. My success astonished myself; I felt almost 
certain she would recover. Respecting the letter Mrs. G 
so earnestly wished to write to her mother ; with much dif- 
ficulty, I had procured a sheet of paper for my own use; 
this she begged of me, and wrote upon it a very sensible 
and affectionate letter to her mother. No fault was found with 
the "Asylum," or with the fact of her long sufferings there, 
but she gave the idea that though she had been much disor- 
dered in mind, she hoped she was now improving ; that she 
trusted she had acquired a good degree of self-control, and 



100 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

thought she could now return to her mother and make both 
happy. Doctor McFarland soon after appeared in the hall. 
Leading Mrs. G to him, I ventured to say, in a very re- 
spectful tone, " Doctor McParland, I am happy to believe 
this person now fully clothed in her right mind. She has de- 
sired me to present a request to you, in behalf of herself and 
her mother, but I think her better capable of stating her own 
request, if you will please to listen to it." I then withdrew 
a little. 

Mrs. G modestly advanced, and said in a very defer- 
ential tone, " 0, Doctor dear, will you please be so very 
kind as to let me send this letter to my poor feeble mother, 
if after having read it, you think it proper. She is now get- 
ting quite old, and I am afraid, may not live the coming win- 
ter through. I have caused her much grief, and now if I 
could only be with her, I do think I could do much to make 
her happy. Please Doctor, grant my request, and I will be 
grateful to you as long as I live." 

The Doctor barely deigned to hear this humble supplica- 
tion, then turned his back, without a word, and left the hall. 
I had so often witnessed such replies to similar appeals, that 
I felt not the least surprise, but I much feared the effect of 
such a repulse upon the sensitive mind of his patient. She . 
had for several weeks, been making the most energetic effort 
to govern her own mind. She had struggled nobly and suc- 
cessfully to repress the natural rising of indignation, when 
she had been abused by her keepers, tasked, beaten and re- 
proached for not being able to quite fulfil the severe exac- 
tions in the toiling drudgeries every day assigned to her. 
With unrepining patience, this child of grief had borne all 
these indignities, supported by the hope that she should 
again taste the sweets of liberty and affection with her be- 
loved mother. I had watched with the greatest pleasure, 
the progress she was making in the few hours of leisure that 
were allowed her in reading and needle-work. But now, a 
shock too great for her to sustain, was given by the Doctor's 
most heartless repulse. 



HOW TO MAKE INCURABLES. 101 

A few days subsequent, a marked change for the worse 
came visibly over her mind and manners. She saw how fruit- 
less were all the efforts she had been able to make for her 
own recovery, and again sunk into gloomy discouragement. 
She now laid aside her needle and her "Book, neglected her 
personal appearance, began to pace the hall in morose silence, 
tearing little bits of paper, and again biting her fingers. In 
vain I remonstrated ; in vain attempted to rally the now de- 
parting gleams of reason. She seemed to have a perfect 
consciousness of her own peril ; indeed told me she knew 
she was on the road to destruction. I sought in every way 
I could think of to divert her mind, urged her by every pos- 
sible motive to try to recall hope, and still cultivate pa- 
tience. 

" No, no, it is all in vain," said she, with a look of tear- 
less despair. "You can not raise me, so little power as you 
have here. They keep me working most of the time in the 
wash and ironing rooms, I've made up my mind now, that 
they mean to keep me here forever, I shall never see my 
mother any more ; never again know the joy of liberty. 0, 
I wish I was dead." 

Her descent was rapid ; a short time after, she tore to 
shreds every article of clothing upon her person. Her at- 
tendant put her at once into solitary confinement. This did 
not mend the matter, she broke the glass, mutilated the furni- 
ture, broke the crockery in her room and with the sharp frag- 
ments attacked her attendant, and wounded her severely in 
the arm. Lizzy quickly locked her door and ran to me, 
holding up her bleeding arm, requesting me to bind it up for 
her. I did so, but pitied her victim, more than herself. As 

soon as she dared, she again opened the door of Mrs. G 

and called me to look at the scence. 0, what a specta- 
cle ! Never saw I more complete debasement 1 or more 
perfect abandonment of all decency in human conduct ! She 
was shouting, swinging her arms, laughing triumphantly and 
horribly; swearing, dancing and screaming alternately. She 
was led to the wash-room, beaten and washed, then straight- 



102 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

jacketed and tightly bound by cords to a stationary bench, 
in the public hall. While sitting here upon the bare floor, 
she kept constantly uttering the most profane, blasphemous 
expressions against herself and all around her, against God 
and nature, heaven and the universe 1 The young patients 
stared in perfect horror at her terrible transformation. Her 
words rolled in perfect torrents from her mouth so long as 
she had power of utterance. Then she foamed at the mouth, 
which was followed by gesticulations and motions so inde- 
cent, as to forbid all attemps at description. She became so 
intolerable, that every patient left that part of the hall, and 
huddled back into the remotest places, unable longer to en- 
dure her vicinity. Her room was close to my own. Her 
nights like her days, were spent in raving and shouting, "0, 
curses, curses on Dr. McFarland 1 O, my mother, my mother 1 
0, my ruin 1 my ruin I etc." 

These were the noises with which I was tormented all the 
long hours of those terrible nights ! Again I feared for the 
continuance of my own sanity, so almost impossible was it to ob- 
tain any sleep. Every particle of decency and of humanity 
now seemed to have forsaken my once hopeful friend. Her 
countenance in its contortions had wrought out of itself al- 
most every human feature. It was remarked by one of the 
patients, that she now looked more like a baboon than like a 
human being. In a few days, she was removed to the Fifth 
ward. She is doubtless now, if living, ranked among those 
who have by such a process been manufactured into incura- 
bles. 



XYL 
Departure of Mrs. Packard. 

" The higher law defies all feebler claims." 

The limits of this book have been such as to exclude a de- 
tail of many scenes of most thrilling interest. Among 
these were the arrival and departure of patients. I invaria- 



DEPARTURE OF MRS. PACKARD. 103 

bly observed that the accession of a new one caused a feeling 
of universal distress to the initiated. "Poor soul!" they 
would often exclaim, "she little knows what she must suffer 
before she leaves this building ! " The most stirring events 
connected with the departure of patients, were evolved by 
that of Mrs. Packard. 

As the circumstances of her leaving have already been 
given to the public in her own most interesting book, " Three 
Years Imprisonment," I need not repeat themhere. But there 
were some things of which she could not inform the public, 
not having witnessed them. 

Her departure elicited a deep interest both among the sane, 
and the insane. Every motion made that had a bearing on 
the subject became a theme of animated discussion. "Will 
she really leave us now ? will, they force her to leave before 
she wishes ? will her husband come and force her into an- 
other prison?" were questions that echoed from hall to hall. 

That the machinations of her powerful enemies might be 
defeated, and her own ardent wishes for liberty granted, was 
the spontaneous prayer of all her Christian fellow sufferers 
there. 

I have not yet, told my readers, what may now be proper 
to mention about, a new commandment, that Mrs. Packard 
and myself had some weeks before received. It could not 
be called a rule of the institution, since it affected none but 
ourselves. It was a new commandment, manufactured as the 
result of a discussion between McFarland and the prime-min- 
ister, Lizzy Bonner ! It was this : " Mrs. Packard and Mrs. 
Olsen are no longer to be permitted to speak together." 

This cruel law we obeyed, being determined that they 
should have no ground whatever to stand upon in case they 
undertook in future, to base any accusation against either 
our deportment or our sanity. Indeed we were "stubbornly 
obedient," as was once remarked by one who noticed the in- 
stant alacrity with which we both invariably obeyed McFar- 
land's mandates, and from our respective halls, we daily met 
at our meals in the dining-hall, without exchanging a word 



104: THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

or even bowing to each other. Thus, as all must see, we 
were compelled to violate good manners. Therefore the ad- 
vocates of Lunatic Asylums must also carry on a war against 
good manners as well as against all the principles of religion 
and morality ! 

Had Mrs. Packard and my humble self been guilty of de- 
vising " treason, stratagems, and spoils," in our mutual con- 
versations, there would have been some justice in this pro- 
cedure. But as our conversation was such as could result in 
harm to no one, and was a great solace to ourselves, we could 
not resist the conviction that such a restriction was but an 
unmasked exhibition of pure tyranny. 

But our vigilant Superintendent forgot to make a law or 
even " a new commandment," that we should not write to 
each other. He had evidently neglected to study the motto 
of my present chapter respecting " the higher law laughing 
at jurisprudence and restraint " so, thanks to his forgetful- 
ness ! we now applied "the higher law" for our own benefit; 
this we could do without breaking our promise not to break 
his lower law. 

To me it was a source of great consolation to read the 
tender and thrilling letters she wrote to me, in these our days 
of trial. Our mutual letters were conveyed clandestinely 
of course. I often sent mine concealed in a boquet of flowers, 
which by special address I could occasionally beg. At other 
times, I would adroitly throw my letters before her path, as 
she was passing to and from her meals. We never took the 
least pains to conceal this from the patients knowing they 
would not betray us. 

Truly "the way of transgressors is hard,'' besides being re- 
markably unsuccessful. For this tyranical commandment 
did not succeed in harming us, as was intended. 

The time had now come when the great question was to be 
settled respecting the removal of our friend from the " Asy- 
lum." This decision was officially announced in our hall by 
Mrs. McFarland, in reply to eager inquiries. " Yes, Mrs. 
Packard is to leave here to-morrow morning, whether she in- 



DEPARTURE OF MRS. PACKARD 105 

tends it or not. Her trunk is already packed." No flash of 
lightning then came gleaming into our window ; no clap of 
thunder broke our meditations ; nor did an earthquake rock 
the ground our house was built upon; yet if all these phe- 
nomena had really happened, I hardly think the excitement 
could have been greater. The raving actually forgot to rave ; 
the swearers were held in dumb suspense, even the scarred 
victims of despair looked up from their blood-shot eyes 1 
The exclamations, discussions, questions that for several 
hours took precedence of every other commotion, I can not 
describe. There was joy indeed with two or three of the at- 
tendants, who felt that Mrs. Packard's influence was a con- 
stant impediment to their opportunities of abusing their vic- 
tims. They dared not use the least disrespect to herself but 
they dreaded the power of her atmosphere over them, it was 
such a damper to the operations of this very " peculiar in- 
stitution." 

Rev. Mr. Packard arrived in the morning, and according 
to previous instructions, his unresisting wife was conveyed 
by force in the name of the State authority, to the carriage 
sent to convey her away from the Asylum. 0, Illinois ! 
proud Prairie State ! are you not proud of your record now 
among the lovers of freedom! 

Our hall was now vacated by all the attendants, who in an- 
other room, were watching this operation from the windows. 
I heard them laughing and shouting, and clapping hands, 
while Bonner vociferated a loud " hurrah for Mr. Packard I" 
But in our hall, the scene was the reverse. Sadly, and with 
a throbbing heart, I saw the carriage driven away, which 
contained the only one except Doctor Tenny who could 
prove an efficient friend to me then, in my otherwise utterly 
defenceless position. I made no attempt to repress the fast 
gathering tears, nor to console others. "She has gone!" 
said I at last, to some in the hall who had not observed the 
departure of the 'bus. At this announcement, one of the 
insane, who up to this point, had made no demonstration of 
her feelings, being angry that I had so spoken, approached 



106 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

me suddenly, and gave me a violent blow, which prostrated 
me at once upon the floor ! 

Some lectured on the oppressiveness of husbands, others 
on that of State institutions ; a few on " Woman's Rights," 
but a larger number still upon a subject with which I think 
they had a much better acquaintance, namely, Woman's 
Wrongs. 



XVII. 
My Departure. 

" I bear a charmed life." 

Having survived the horrors of the Fifth ward, and the 
added torments of the Reign of Terror, I very naturally 
adopted the conclusion quoted at the head of this chapter. 
Nothing in Lunatic Asylums can hurt me now. My resurrec- 
tion and ascension from that dread Purgatory where so many 
lay down their martyred lives, is a sure proof to my mind 
that I have conquered death and hell, since I can conceive 
nothing in either of these that can be more terrible. 

But I made a mistake in supposing I could suffer no more 
from Lunatic Asylums. Their power to inflict almost every 
conceivable suffering is not so easily exhausted, as I shall 
now show by the following scenes. 

I have before alluded to my being placed at the table by 
the side of Mrs. Triplet, the very fiercest of all the maniac's 
there. Still I had no fears of her, because she had so trained 
me to walk in the " strait and narrow way," while in Purga- 
tory with her, that I supposed myself sufficiently aware of 
her peculiarities, to be able to protect myself from the danger 
of her vicinity. But she frequently had a fancy, on seeing 
the bead in her cup that was produced by pouring her coifee, 
that some one had been spitting in her cup, in order to vex 
her. This poor creature had so frequently been made a 
mark of ridicule by her attendant, and by some of the pa- 



MY DEPARTURE. 107 

tients, who had no other amusement, that she had become 
excessively jealous and irritable. On this occasion, observ- 
ing this appearance in her cup. she looked fiercely at me, as 
I was the nearest to herself, and exclaimed, " Now you've 
been spitting in my coffee." Then suddenly, seizing my 
chair, as I was about sitting down, and knocking me down 
prostrate with the same, she proceeded to pound and beat me 
with such violence that now even Lizzy interposed, and pul- 
ling her away, assisted me to rise from the floor. I limped 
back to my room, and did not recover for many days. Lizzy 
was heard to say she believed Mrs. Triplet would kill me if 
I had to sit so close to her, so she gave me another seat. 
Surely this is a Lunatic Asylum! Is not this a place of rest I 
This was about the tenth time I had been chased about in a 
similar manner by fierce patients with whom I was obliged 
to eat ! 

My charmed life was yet again jeopardized more than ever, 
by a young girl, there known as "screaming Mary." She 
was perfectly quiet and mild in her appearance all the time, 
except about twice in twenty -four hours, she would have fits 
of suddenly screaming like a panther. Then she would, be 
quiet till the next attack. I discovered she had never been 
taught to read, and thought I would spend some of my leisure 
in teaching her. In this I was assisted by another lady. One 
day as I was teaching her, she all at once, sudden as a flash 
of lightning, struck me with a violent blow on the head, 
which prostrated me at once to the floor ; then holding me 
down with one hand, with firm pressure she tore the hair from 
my head by handfuls, and furiously beat me on the head, till 
I was nearly unconscious. I thought myself dying at the 
moment, so intense was the pain. My fellow patients, see- 
ing my danger, sprang instantly to my rescue. They in- 
stantly seized Mary, gently but firmly, and after having with 
difficulty loosened her grasp from my hair, dragged her away, 
and held her till the attendant, then absent from the hall, 
heard the noise, and came to see what was the matter. See- 
ing the state of the case, she laughed heartily at the scene, 



108 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

said she did'nt care, I might mind my own business ! My 
business then, so soon as I could walk, was to go to the wash- 
room, and cleanse away the blood, and bathe my head in 
water. I was not then allowed to do this, for the dinner bell 
rang at the moment, and I was compelled to go to the table 
in this plight, my net completely demolished, my hair dishev- 
elled and standing out in all directions. More than seventy 
women with their attending officials, saw me in this hor- 
rible plight ! Unable to swallow food, I crawled rather 
than walked back to the wash-room alone, where I gently 
bathed my head in water to relieve the pain. I reclined 
upon my bed, and the thought came, surely "I bear a charmed 
life!" 

Some time after, I asked Mary why she did this, when I 
was trying to teach her to read. Her reply was that she 
" s'posed " I would be like her former teachers, at the New 
York Orphan Asylum, where she had formerly been, who 
when she could not get her lesson, used to strike and beat her. 
On this occasion she had found a hard word, and being afraid 
that I should also strike her, concluded it was best to kill me 
to prevent it. 

Of my own experience, little more need be said. It was 
but a repetition with little variation, of the preceding scenes, 
I have faintly delineated. Weariness, home-sickness, heart- 
sickness from hope deferred, and constant disgust and ab- 
horence of the deceptions and oppressions I constantly wit- 
nessed, these were the objects of my daily thoughts. 

In the same hall with myself, attracting my attention every 
hour, are four furious maniacs, whose presence is always 
dangerous, unless one is constantly on the watch. These 
are allowed to walk the halls unconfined at pleasure, to come 
into my room, and other rooms as they please, while there 
are others here quiet and perfectly harmless whose feeble un- 
resisting limbs are daily confined with straight-jackets and 
bound with strong cords ! Why such glaring injustice ? 
Because our Superintendent neither knows nor cares for the 
condition of half his patients. He leaves Lizzy Bonner to 



MY DEPARTURE. 109 

"cure or kill them," to influence their minds, and train their 
various sanities and insanities as her own convenience or ca- 
price may dictate ! 

One woman is now trying to kill herself by beating her 
head with all her might against the hard wall. Why don't 
they put her into a chair and place it so far from the wall 
that she could not hurt her head when throwing it back ? 
She has been beaten with such terrible severity by her at- 
tendants, that now she undoubtedly thinks an addition by her 
own hands, would beat quite out the lingering spark of life, 
and end her suffering. 

On the occasion to which I now refer, she had been again 
most shockingly beaten by some of the wild ones in the Pur- 
gatory, and from this place had recently been brought up. 

This treatment had maddened her to desperation, and 
caused her as I thought, to make this renewed attempt at 
self-destruction. Lizzy applied a straight-jacket shortly, to 
which she made not the least resistance, but with an appeal- 
ing glance which I can never forget, she looked up to me 
and said with slow accent, and with deep emphasis, " Jesiis is 
my witness!" Yes, 0, sufferer ! Jesus is indeed thy witness, 
he will hear thy dying prayer I She said no more, and was 
immediately removed to the Fifth ward. 

Not far from this time, one of the keys of the hall was 
missed. Lizzy suspected Miss Hodson, the industrious sewing 
girl from the Fifth ward, and questioned her. She denied 
having taken the key, but was not believed. Then com- 
menced the most shocking scene of injustice I had ever be- 
held. Lizzy insisted Miss Hodson was guilty of the theft, 
and commenced searching her room, in every nook and cor- 
ner. She scattered the bed all over the floor seeking the key. 
It was all in vain ; it was nowhere to be found ! She next 
accused Miss Hodson of having secreted the key about her 
person. This was also denied. Lizzy then hastily tore off 
all her clothing, till the helpless victim of such diabolical in- 
decency, feeling a just indignation, wrought up to the highest 
climax of rage, fought the attendant with most terrible des- 



110 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

peration. Seeing the contest doubtful Lizzy shouted for re- 
inforcement ; her fellow attendant came instantly to the res- 
cue. Then both seized their victim, the one holding her arms, 
the other actually kneeling upon her body and beating her 
furiously, vociferously shouted, " now tell us where you've 
hid that key?" 

Lizzy then pounded her on the bowels and head, kicked 
her furiously, and in the progress of the battle, tore out her 
hair, and beat her nose heavily against the floor, raising her 
head up and down rapidly by the hair ! The sufferer now 
ceased all resistance; she became speechless and as I thought, 
insensible. Lizzy, to extort the expected confession, then 
ordered the other attendant to bring a pail of water. I looked 
on in dumb horror as I then saw those two attendants plunge 
the bruised head of that motherless orphan into the water, 
and hold it there till she strangled convulsively gasping for 
breath. She was now speechless, motionless and naked, they 
then applied a straight-jacket to her unresisting arms, locked 
her into a room and left her 1 

I beheld this whole scene without daring to remonstrate, 
having been many times punished for trying to excite pity 
for the victims when under these modes of torture. These 
injuries of Miss Hodson I think were incurable. 

She never, while I remained, did any more work for the 
Institution, but would sit or lie on the floor of her own room 
mostly, brooding over her unrequited wrongs, in melancholy 
silence. After the terrible scene I have related, she never 
was known to converse socially with any one. By swift 
degrees, she appeared to lose all hope; at last she became a 
furious maniac. I think they have made her an incurable, if 
indeed she is living. 

I ought to add, that a few minutes after the perpetration 
of this outrage, the lost key was found in the shoe of a Mrs. 
McClay, a patient who had made several attempts to run 
away. The attendants did not give Mrs. McClay the least 
punishment. I thought it was because they were too much 
fatigued in fighting Miss Hodson ! Justice ! ! I did not tell 



MY DEPARTURE. Ill 

the Doctor of this scene. "Why should I? I knew that he 
perfectly well knew that similar scenes were every day oc- 
curring in different parts of the Asylum! 

My brothers now began to think vigorously on the subject 
of my leaving the "Asylum." They saw that my husband had 
confided me entirely to the disposition of Dr. McFarland, 
and they had serious misgivings about the propriety of letting 
me remain longer in such hands. So they concerted together 
as to what plan could now be adopted for my liberation. 

They were not satisfied with the way I was being managed, 
and now took the business, into their own hands. By what 
authority they acquired the power to release me I never 
cared to inquire. Lawyers were consulted, letters without 
number written, and plans discussed. More than six months 
passed in these tiresome negotiations and delays before they 
were able to shape a way by which my deliverance could be 
effected. If they had known that all this time, my health 
was going to ruin, that I was literally dying by inches, they 
would not thus have protracted my lingering misery. But 
such was their confidence in Dr. McFarland, and in his most 
fallacious reports, they presumed all was going on right, only 
my long detention gave them uneasiness. I longed beyond 
all expression, to have some rest. 0, I was so weary, weary; 
I longed for some Asylum from " Lunatic Asylums !" 

One morning Dr. Tenny came to my room and announced 
the thrice welcome intelligence, that my brother had come 
to take me away! Was I in a trance; was liberty again to be 
be mine ? I knew not how to express my joy. I was free ! 
free ! ! 

My limits will not permit me to relate the scene of parting 
with my sisters in bonds. It was such as to confirm my affec- 
tion and devotion to them and to all who bear the dreadful 
name of Lunatic, forever. I leave you, my sad suffering 
sisters, in your "bonds and imprisonments;" but most deeply 
unworthy should I prove myself of the sacred boon of 
liberty, if I fail to remember you in bonds as still bound with 
you. 



112 THE PRISONER S HIDDEN LIFE. 

Be not discouraged my sisters ; " learn to labor, pray and 
wait," I was about to add, but this would be absurd in your 
cases, who have already sufficiently learned these cross-bear- 
ing lessons. But learn rather to hope and to expect what I 
confidingly believe at no distant day awaits you, that " the 
day of your redemption draweth nigh." 



XVIII. 
Reports Yisits of Trustees. 

There is nothing which the Superintendent, and others in 
the pay of " Lunatic Asylums " so much dread, as the diffusion 
of truthful intelligence on the subject of insanity, and the 
manner in which it should be treated. Hence the exceeding 
brevity of their " Reports," and the adroitness with which 
they will dodge the main subject on which the people most 
desire information in those " Reports." 

I refer especially to the "Reports" of Dr. McFarland. In 
these we find much said about the outside arrangement and 
management, improvements and need of more improvements 
in the external machinery and accessories of the "Asylum." 
The attention of the reader is carefully kept aloof from a 
correct view of the internal movements and influences of this 
most complicated machinery, by the most consummate policy 
in the skillful writer. By presenting a dazzling view of the 
outside, he undoubtedly infers that his reader, without exact- 
ing the minute details, will naturally suppose that all is right 
within. And too many of his readers confirm him in that 
conclusion, by the credulous eagerness with which " our most 
accomplished Superintendent's Report," with all its fallacies 
rs accepted. 

The writer of these documents treats his readers very much 
as he does the Trustees, when they visit the Institution. 
He detains nearly all their time outside the building, where 
they examine the steam apparatus, the laundries, cook-room, 



REPORTS. 113 

the horse-stable, cow-stable, pig-pens, hen-roosts, wood shed, 
gardens, flowers, and shrubbery. All these, of course, are 
found in the most admirable order and perfection. After 
such a fatiguing excursion, these gentlemen are politely es- 
corted to the banqueting hall, where an elegant dinner is just 
the thing to confirm their good nature, and prepare them to 
be pleased with every thing that subsequently invites their 
attention. After these most important essentials are all at- 
tended to, these gentlemen are politely escorted through the 
numerous halls by the Superintendent and his officials. 
There, a few brief minutes are spent in glancing at the hun- 
dreds of human beings who are suffering the deepest and most 
varied woe that mortals can suffer. To them the Trustees 
present themselves, bowing and smiling, full of pleasure and 
good nature ; give them a bird's eye view, about as they 
would examine buildings seen from a railroad car in rapid 
motion ! 

Very rarely speak these hasty gentlemen to any of the 
patients; and when they do, the latter know this is no time, 
in such brief public visits, for any adequate knowledge re- 
specting their condition to be divulged. They well know, 
that if they tell the truth to the Trustees respecting what 
they suffer, either that it will not be believed, or that its ex- 
pression will be construed into an indication of insanity. 
Besides, what they might report of their real condition, 
would not agree with the ostensible appearances seen all 
around them. They also well know that if they tell the 
truth, they will be punished for doing so, as soon as the vis- 
itors are out of sight. They possess sufficient sanity to know 
that "discretion is the better part of valor." 

How have I wished, after these flying visits of the Trus- 
tees, that they could immediately return, and in a condition 
of invisible presence, hear the conversations I have heard 
among the patients, on these periodical occasions. It would 
be as follows: "I wish they would treat us with as much 
respect as they do the cattle on these premises ; I noticed 
their visit to the stable was much longer than to our hall." 



114 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

" I presume," responded another, " they think we are of less 
consequence than the beasts ; for they see to it that all the 
wants of their nature are attended to, while our most urgent 
necessities are regarded as unworthy of attention." " But 
what good results from their coming at all ?" queried a third, 
"we are not benefitted by such visits; our condition is really 
made worse, for these deceitful outside appearances indicate 
to them that we are happy, while the most miserable are 
locked up in some secret place, and not permitted to be seen 
at all, lest the abuse they suffer should be seen on their coun- 
tenances. At the same time, these visitors, who look only 
upon the surface, and judge only from what they see, and 
that, too, varnished up for the occasion, go away and report 
favorably. Thus are these Institutions 'kept up.'" An- 
other asserting voice replied, " I wish these Trustees never 
would call again, since their visits, managed as they are, pro- 
duce not only no benefit, but much harm to us." 

But I commenced this paper by adverting to the evident 
wish, on the part of the Superintendent, to keep people in 
ignorance on the subject of the real philosophy of insanity, 
and the proper method of its cure. There is an abundance of 
facts to confirm this conjecture, for books, papers, etc., have 
been many times taken away by his orders, which conveyed 
intelligence on this subject. The works of some of the beat 
authors on the laws of health, water cure, etc., have been 
carefully excluded from circulation in the "Asylum;" and 
though some of the privileged are allowed to read such works, 
when sent by friends, they are strictly forbidden to lend them 
to their companions. The same is true of the Doctor's own 
"Reports." Not one of them is allowed to be read by the 
patients. Why? Were he conscious of having told the 
truth thoroughly, then why not let it be proclaimed in all 
places, even on the house tops? Will not the truth bear a 
just revelation? What can we trust, if not the truth? Have 
falsehood and fallacy superior claims to our confidence ? 

But there is an obvious reason why these officers should be 
in such a tremor when the truth is likely to peep out from 



FALLACIES. 115 

some of its coverts. They well know that if their "Pecu- 
liar Institutions," and the subject of insanity which they en- 
velop with so much mystery, should be boldly and thoroughly 
investigated, their deceptions would be exposed, and conse- 
quently the "craft" by which they have their wealth, 
essentially endangered. 



XIX. 
Fallacies. 

Of all subjects which interest or agitate our social life, I 
know of none so indistinctly understood, or around which clus- 
ter such utter vagueness of conception, such fallacious rea- 
soning, as the subject of insanity and its real or supposed vic- 
tims. It seems that we content ourselves with less investi- 
gation, less thought upon that, than upon any other subject ; 
though nothing in all the enterprises of human benevolence 
calls more loudly at the present time, for clear, independent, 
and earnest thought. The suddenness with which people in 
all conditions of life are said to be attacked with insanity, 
the alarming multiplication of lunatics, the increased and im- 
perious demand made upon our State Legislatures for largo 
sums of money to be expended in the erection and endowment 
of "Lunatic Asylums," seem sufficient considerations to jus- 
tify the assertion that we are quite too superficial in the data, 
upon which we are accustomed to base our conclusions respect- 
ing the wants of the insane. 

There exists quite too great a disposition to transfer in- 
dividual responsibility to public and popular institutions ; hence 
there naturally arises a great temptation to the officers of such 
institutions to abuse and greatly magnify the power so freely 
confided to them. Therefore I contend that instead of em- 
ploying these public officers to think for us, to manage for us 
the disorderd intellects of our insane friends, "a more excel- 
lent way" would be to arouse and awaken our own thoughts, 



116 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

and look the subject in the face, instead of becoming needless- 
ly alarmed, and stupidly consigning often the dearest ones of 
our family circle to the very doubtful tender mercies of hire- 
ling strangers. 

But now, as " Lunatic Asylums" are sprinkled so liberally 
all over our broad land, and " the'cry is still they come," tax- 
ing the masses and swelling the pyramid of false national 
pride, what have the people to do but to fill up these recepta- 
cles with those superfluous members of a family, who are 
temporarily the sufferers of something unusual about their 
minds, which for want of another name, is at once called " in- 
sanity." This is the everlasting hobby ; this the fulcrum of 
a great moral lever which, I believe, is one of the greatest 
causes of domestic discord and distress.' 

Does any one in the family circle evince symptoms of unu- 
sual conditions of mind, for which we cannot readily account ; 
this is the ready epithet all manufactured to order for the 
startling emergency. Has a woman become excessively ex- 
hausted by weary vigils over the sick bed of some beloved one, 
so that fora time, she fails to step as swiftly, or smile as 
sweetly as usual, but flags a little in the race of Her life ; she 
is forthwith denounced insane, and punished accordingly by 
being sentenced to that horrible abode the " Lunatic Asylum !" 
If some blundering ignoramus of a Doctor, instead of curing 
a fever, throws it into the head, so that the patient becomes 
the victim of a temporary delirium which the Doctor knows 
how to produce, but not how to cure here is another victim 
of " insanity" to be carried off to the " Asylum !" 

If a person is afflicted with neuralgia, or has lost the control 
and ordinary use of some of his limbs, he too, is " insane," and 
off he must go to that great groaning and gorged receptacle 
of bleeding humanity ! If a man or woman choose to adopt 
some of those systems of religious belief, which in one of Dr. 
McFarland's reports is termed "popular delusions," and it so 
happens that the " delusion" in question conflicts too severe- 
ly with the ultra orthodoxy of the patient's friends ; this also 
becomes .at once a conclusive evidence of " insanity," and tho 



FALLACIES. 117 

conscientious but helpless victim must pay the severe penalty 
of mental independence, by an imprisonment inthe self same 
notable Lunacy-curing (?) establishment. If a too sensitive 
young lady loses her lover, either by his death, or by deser- 
tion, so that her crushed affections vainly wander for some 
object to rest upon ; the pale cheek, the sad eye, and the un- 
healed grief evincing the heart's deep disappointment, are 
construed by her fond, but lamentably ignorant parents as 
evidences of insanity ; and yet another victim is hurried into 
the terrible jaws of that ever hungry monster the " Lunatic 
Asylum!" If a young but too trusting heart, ensnared by 
some serpent in human form, has taken that "one false 
step" which " forever blasts her fame," and her proud parents 
see thereby, occasion to wish to put her out of sight, it is easy 
to call her insane ; and here very emphatically does this most 
accompdating institution exemplify its power in giving a con- 
venient shelter to the pride of parents. 

One more secret I must tell in a whisper. If a man be- 
comes tired of living with his wife, and finds his affections 
being alienated from her because she has outlived her beauty 
and grown prematurely old, and her health has decayed in 
her arduous labors for himself and for their children it is easy 
for such a husband to treat her with coldness and tyranny, 
which causes her that heart-breaking anguish which she can 
not control it is a very easy matter for such indications to 
be construed into insanity; and again the ponderous doors of 
that great "whited sepulcher" are thrown open, to swallow 
up within its ample labyrinth of destruction another victim of 
"insanity!" 

Her now freed gallant, noble husband, does not complain of 
the taxes and expenses incident to such an Institution. Nay, 
nay; he shouts "Hurrah for Lunatic Asylums ! I go in for 
Lunatic Asylur^! Noble charities! Grand institutions ! they 
suit my case exactly. My wife is insane the Doctor says 
so, bless the kind man ; now I am relieved my wife is in good 
hands now. Long life to the Superintendent I Glorious insti- 
tutions ! Jacksonville Lunatic Asylum forever 1" 



118 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XX. 
Influence of Insane Asylums upon their Yictims. 

One great objection to " Lunatic Asylums " is that they 
create a virtual abrogation of the marriage vow. In this, 
each party promises, by every sacred obligation of our nature, 
and by the immortal sanctions of our religion, to share all the 
fortunes and destiny of the other "in sickness and in health, 
till death do us part." Now what becomes of this sacred 
promise when one of the parties consigns the other to a prison, 
where her liberty of speech and action is impeded at every 
point ? Instead of sharing sorrow together, one party endures 
a grief in which the other does not participate the constant 
sorrow caused by the banishment from home and all its count- 
less blessings. When a husband does this, instead of taking 
care of her as he promised, he trusts her to a great company 
of strangers who neither know nor care for her, and whom he 
does not know himself, and in most cases, has never seen. 
Who are those thus entrusted to " take care " of these sor- 
row-stricken ones ? Not the Superintendent indeed he does 
not even know half the time what attention they require. 
He seldom sees them, and still more seldom speaks to them. 
Not his wife she is fully employed in other ways ; but a 
miscellaneous horde of stupid servants mostly, who are 
gathered from the kitchens of hotels, or other places of ser- 
vice, and these too quite often, from the lowest class of Eng- 
lish, Irish and German servants, whose principal qualification 
is that they are strong and willing to obey orders I 

These are the ones, Oh, husbands ! who you think are bet- 
ter qualified than yourselves to take your feeble and diseased 
wives, and guide their disordered minds to healthy action ! 
Many of these servants can not write their own names, or 
even read What do they know of the philosophy of the hu- 
man intellect ! what of curing insanity? 

I wish the public could be aroused to the absurdity of such 
a blind acquiescence in the supposed necessity of ouch "Asy- 
lums." It seems that the whole public have gone mad in 



INFLUENCE OF INSANE ASYLUMS. 119 

their blind devotion to this pet Institution. I have some- 
times thought that if all the inmates of the Jacksonville 
" Asylum " were at once entirely liberated, and an equal 
number of the advocates of that Institution, including Dr. 
McFarland of course, immediately confined in their places, 
that the State would be the gainer by such an arrangement ; 
for on this subject I verily believe, in the language of a gifted 
Poet, that truth authorizes us to exclaim, 

" See Bedlam's closeted and hand-cuffed charge, 
Surpassed in frenzy by the mad at large 1" 

When public opinion is thus misguided, it is capable of pro- 
ducing an incalculable amount of mischief. These Institu- 
tions build up an absolute monarchy in the very center of 
our Republican government, thus creating an eternal warfare 
between the two. Their tendency is therefore to weaken 
Republicanism just in proportion to their own increase of 
power. The power thus conferred by our State legislation 
upon one individual is absolutely fearful to contemplate. His 
influence is greater over domestic life than that of the Gov- 
ernor of the State. It is not the business of the Governor to 
decide as to individual cases of insanity. If a man suspects 
one of his family is insane, he does not apply to the Governor, 
but to Dr. McFarland, who always finds the suspicion well- 
founded. On him, on his absolute will and dictation, depend 
the destinies and happiness of many hundred families within 
the State. Yea, on his ipse dixit it depends whether a hus- 
band and wife shall live together, as God appointed, or whether 
the wife, nolens volens, shall be separated from him and assigned 
a far different life from his own, in the care of a man who 
feels not, or ought not to feel, for her any peculiar affection. 
For him it is to decide whether a mother shall enjoy the 
privilege, given to her by God and nature, of nursing and 
training her own offspring, or whether the tender infants be 
consigned like herself, to cold and careless hirelings. 

But it is objected, " the mother is not fit to take care of 
her children." Why is she not fit ? Because she believes 



120 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

that spirits from heaven watch over and guide both herself 
and her children ? Because she believes that our religious 
opinions ought to be free and untrammelled ? Because she 
thinks that primitive Christianity is a better guide than its 
mock imitations of the present degenerate age ? These are 
the only grounds on which a very large number of the Jack- 
sonville patients have been confined and kept away from their 
homes and their families. 

Witness the case of Mrs. Minard, who, for nine years was 
thus abused of Mrs. Packard, who, for three years was 
allowed by the laws of the State, to be kept against her own 
wishes, from her home and family. Of many others, whose 
cases, though less strongly marked, come no less within the 
class of those whose peculiar religious belief does not at all 
unfit them from performing all their home duties, were they 
allowed to do so, in the most praiseworthy and exemplary 
manner. 

The prejudices of a misguided public in favor of this In- 
stitution, and the power resulting, opens the way for any 
tyrannical and wicked husband who wishes to get rid of his 
unloved wife, to vex and annoy her into sickness, or some 
nervous, irritable, or otherwise unfortunate condition of mind, 
to call this "insanity," and send her away, either by criminal 
deception, or brutal compulsion, to these most deceptive places 
called "Asylums. 1 ' 

There, by degrees, every feeling of her gentle nature is 
crushed and outraged. She learns, not to forget her innocent 
children, but, by imperceptible degrees, she does often learn 
to cease to love her lawful husband, and he has taught her 
the lesson himself by the stupid, the blind, the criminal confi- 
dence he reposes in a popular public man, called, The Super- 
intendent of a Lunatic Asylum. 

The Insane "Asylum" crucifies the warmest affections of 
the heart; resists all the spontaneous impulses and aspirations 
of human life, and crushes out, inch by inch, in the lacerated 
bosom of many a bleeding victim, the last expiring remnants 
of earthly hope. Is it superflous, then, to pronounce these 



INFLUENCE OF INSANE ASYLUMS. 121 

institutions an unqualified curse ? I consider them the greatest 
plague spots upon our national escutcheon. "Asylums" 
indeed they are, but not in any sense, to that deeply afflicted 
class for whom, in the plenitude of its benevolence, our gen- 
erous State designed. They have been corrupted perverted, 
so that instead of curing lunacy, they are far better adapted 
to increase and render incurable, cases of but partial derange 
ment indeed, to create insanity where it did not previously 
exist. 

They are "Asylums" where sin can cover its hydra-headed 
form with impunity ; where tyranny, unmolested and unques- 
tioned can preside. 

They are "Asylums" where the most concentrated and 
appalling features of the veriest despotism under the sun, can 
prosper and flourish ; where falsehood can bury its shameless 
front, under the insidious disguises of mock piety ; where 
robbery, theft and murder are unrebuked. 

Language is utterly powerless to describe the terrible effect 
of a long compulsory residence within those awful walls, upon 
those most unhappy beings there incarcerated. Many die 
outright, before the various stages of that stultifying process 
become completed. Those who survive, often become the 
victims of incurable melancholy. All hope flies away, for 
they feel that one by one, every tie which bound them to life 
is severed ; that friends have proved traitors ; vows, a stupid 
nullity ; every pore of life is bleeding, and every heart-throb 
an impulse of agony. The climax of despair at last succeeds, 
and many are driven to suicide. 

These victims have been taught to regard their former 
friends as enemies, and these very "friends" have taught this 
terrible lesson; 

'And truest friends, through error, wound our rest." 
In the wreck of human intellect and human affection thus 
caused, the spectacle is often presented of deformed and de- 
throned humanity, the contemplation of which is sufficient to 
"make an angel weep !" 

"Where then is the benefit of "Lunatic Asylums?" Echo 
responds, Where ? 6 



122 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

The Prisoner's Song. 

Written while a Prisoner at Jacksonville Insane Asylum, July 4&, 1863. 



I had a home in former years, 

Where free and happy I could walk 
"Without " attendants," without fears, 

And minus aid from key and lock. 
But here a prison-house I see 
Where I am bound by lock and key ! 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall 1 

Locks I Locks ! Locks I 

We're never free ; we can not walk 
Three yards away without a door ; 

We try to open lo ! a lock 
Is there to stop our way before ! 

Tea, by this everlasting key, 

Like criminals, locked up are we I 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall ! 

Locks ! Locks I Locks I 

If hungry, and we wish to see 

The cupboard there's a locked up door ; 
Our butter and bread locked up must be, 

(Except the first, tho' that of yore 
A ration at home,) but now no more 
Eat we "butter and honey" as before. 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall I 

Locks ! Locks I Locks 1 

If weary, and we fain would lie 
On beds of straw to rest our limbs, 



PRISONER'S SONG. 123 

"We can not ope the door, for why ? 

'Tis locked : can we chant the quiet hymn 
"Now I lay me down to sleep I" 
Oh no I sit up to wake and weep ! 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall I 

Locks 1 Locks I Locks 1 

If sick, we feel 'tis all the same ; 

"We tell it ; sure ourselves alone 
And not our keepers are to blame, 

And so we dare not even groan. 
If nature bid us groan or cry 
With agony, we'd better die.* 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall ! 

Locks 1 Locks 1 Locks ! 

If we wish to go and take a walk, 

And thus divert the growing grief 
That burns within, where we might talk 

To birds and flowers to find relief, 
We can not go we can not walk 
Because of that eternal lock I 

Chorns. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall I 

Locks ! Locks 1 Locks I 

Once we opened our lips to speak, 

But found a padlock even there ; 
Where'er we wish to move we're weak, 

Then sink we down in dark despair, 
For introversion bows us then ; 
But the heartless locksmiths' cry, "Amen I" 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall 1 

Locks I Locks 1 Locks I 

*I have many times seen sick patients struck, and otherwise severely punished 
for crying and groaning. 



124: THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I wonder if the grave has a lock ; 

If so, there may I never rest ; 
Like the "wandering Jew," I'd rather walk 

Unburied forever, by home unblest, 
Than find, as at death's door I knock 
In vain at the grave because of a lock ? 

Chorus. 
Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 

Every door is locked in the hall 1 

Locks ! Locks 1 Locks ! 

locksmith dear ! what would you do, 

Should the "bubble" of L. Asylums "bust?"' 
Tou'd grow so poor you'd be crazy too, 

And then your honesty none would trust, 
And if to jail you chance might go, 
"We could pay you back just what we owe, 
Which is, I think a lock or so 1 

Chorus. 

Parlor, dining-room, sleeping-room, all, 
Every door is locked in the hall 1 

Locks 1 Locks ! Locks I 

S. N. B. OLSEff. 
WHEATON, ILL. 



126 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XXI. 
Testimony of Mrs. Sarah Minard, of St. Charles, HI. 

Knowing that the public are ignorant of the real charac- 
ter of their Institution at Jacksonville, where I have been 
held an unwilling prisoner, for the last nine years. I feel con- 
science-bound to give to the public the following testimony, 
hoping it may open the eyes of some of the deluded defenders 
of such institutions, to see the need of either reforming or of 
destroying them. 

At the solicitation of friends, I consented, nine years since, 
to go to Jacksonville Insane Asylum, to secure a course of 
"medical treatment," such as they thought might be a bene- 
fit to my health. We all supposed that Insane Asylums 
were hospitals, where the patient received some " medical 
treatment," superior to what could be obtained elsewhere; and 
as my nervous system had become somewhat prostrated by 
disease, and on the principle that prevention is better than 
cure, I consented to go and receive medical treatment for my 
nervous system. But nine years of experience and observa- 
tion have convinced me that this Institution is far from being 
the place to be benefited by the "treatment " bestowed upon 
the patient. 

When I first went there, I felt that I needed some modi 
cine for my health, and told the physician so ; but he not 
only refused to give me any, but even ridiculed me for ex- 
pressing the opinion that I thought I came there to go 
through some course of "medical treatment ! " All the med- 
icine I took during the nine years I was there, was a little 
soda water, which the Doctor sent me one morning, after I 
had been suffering severely all one night, alone in my room, 
from a cholera-like attack. I was once confined three days 
to my bed, with an attack of what I called erysipelas ; but I 
had no medicine administered to me during this sickness. 
So that so far as receiving "medical treatment" there is 
concerned, we might as well lie upon our own beds at home, 



MRS. MIKARD'S TESTIMONY. 127 

and let disease take its course, as lie upon a bed in that hos- 
pital. It is very seldom that any one receives "medical 
treatment " while there. Many needed it very much, but 
could get none at all. I often used to hear the patients re- 
mark, " Why are we sent here, if not to secure for ourselves 
some kind of medical treatment? but we get none at all." 
And oftentimes it is the case, that when the patients are so 
sick as to be unable to sit up, they are not often allowed to 
lie down, even when they ask the privilege of doing so. 
"Keep them off from their beds !" is the Doctor's oft-repeated 
direction; and this seems to be his great and main prescrip- 
tion for "medical treatment!" But for the last two years, 
the attendants in the Seventh ward, where the patients 
secure the best treatment of any ward in the house, have 
ventured to use their own judgment in relation to this pre- 
scription, and they have allowed the sick patients to lie down 
when they thought their health required it. It is an unspeak- 
able blessing there to be under the care of a humane attend- 
ant, who has sufficient moral courage to dare to use her own 
judgment, in defiance of the cruel, arbitrary rule of the 
house. 

Arbitrary rule is the law of the house. For example, 
order is given to all the ladies in every ward, that they must 
put their clothes out of their rooms at night, before they are 
locked up for the night. In the morning, the ladies must all 
come out of their rooms into the hall to dress themselves, and 
the attendants must lock their doors, to prevent their return- 
ing to prepare their toilets alone in their own rooms. No 
reason whatever, would be assigned to the patients, why they 
should be subjected to this great inconvenience and mortifica- 
tion. It seemed to them to be only an effort to break them 
down into a state of abject subjection as dependent menials. 

The first thing that is done to a patient, by way of "treat- 
ment," after they arrive, usually is, to plunge them into the 
bath-tub; and if they make any resistance to these plunges, 
they are oftentimes held completely under the water, untf 
almost dead, before they allow them a chance to "breathe. 



128 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

have often heard patients say they thought they should die 
of strangulation by this treatment. This treatment is after- 
wards used as a threat, ever overhanging them, in case of any 
resistance to the will or wishes of those who rule over them. 

I once saw an attendant jump upon the stomach of a pa- 
tient with her knees, after throwing her upon the floor upon 
her back, and all she had done to deserve it, was to take a 
piece of bread from the table to carry to her room ! It 
frightened me exceedingly, for I thought it would kill her, 
and I called upon others to defend her. 

The first thing they did to me by way of " treatment," was 
to insist upon my going to my breakfast before my hair was 
combed. I asked leave to finish dressing and preparing my 
toilet, before I went. My attendant said I should go as I 
was. I refused, saying, "I shall not go to the table until I 
get dressed." She said, "You shall go as you are, or go 
without your breakfast!" She locked my door, so I could 
not go to my breakfast. I was always through before the 
rest, and they knew I should be if I took time to dress me 
before I went to the table. The patients were allowed to go 
to the table in the most untidy manner, with unwashed faces 
and uncombed hair, and I could not encourage such untidiness 
by my own example. I believe I did more to encourage 
order and decency, by this course, than by falling into these 
untidy habits myself. 

I was once locked in my room because I told the truth. I 
related something which my attendant thought was not true. 
I told her it was true. She contradicted me, and said, "If 
you assert that again, I shall lock you up in your room!" I 
replied, "It is as I said." She then locked me up. 

The patients are sometimes struck with the keys by the 
attendants, upon their hands and heads ; and sometimes deep 
gashes are cut into their heads by this kind of abuse. Some- 
times the attendants gave the patients a severe beating with 
the sole of their shoes. 

A rule has recently been made, that no visitors can be ad- 
mitted except on Tuesdays and Fridays, and on these days, 



MRS. MINARD'S TESTIMONY. 129 

the patients are required to appear in their best, the house 
is put in perfect order, and the instruments of punishment 
and torture are concealed, such as the straps, straight-jackets, 
etc., so that the visitors see only the best aspect of things. 
The great object of the Institution seems to be to subject the 
patient to the will of the persecutor. 

The table fare has been extremely poor for the last two 
years; no fruits, no melons, scarcely any vegetables, no new 
milk at all, oftentimes, although twenty-five cows are kept 
there at the State's expense. The calves are raised and 
fatted on the new milk for exhibition at the State fairs ! The 
vegetables are appropriated to the same use, at the patients' 
loss. Frequently they are without any butter for several 
days in succession, and often when it is provided, it is so poor 
it can hardly be eaten. The tea and coffee are very weak 
and very poor, without cream and without new milk. Meats 
they have in abundance, suited to the fare of working men, 
rather than a class of house invalids. 

I will mention the case of Mrs. Emma Craig, of Bairds- 
town, whose case represents a large class of patients I saw 
there. She is a spirit medium, but not insane. She was kid- 
napped and put in without any trial, simply because she 
claims that she converses with her three children, who died a 
few years since; and this they call her "insanity." She 
shows no evidence of insanity whatever, in her conduct it 
is only her opinions she is imprisoned for. She disliked to be 
bathed in the manner required, feeling that it injured her 
health. Her attendants then forced her under the water, 
abusing her by their rough handling, then took her to her 
room, and there knocked her head against the wall, with so 
much violence, that her false teeth flew from her mouth, when 
her attendants became so frightened that they left her; and 
thus this fortunate accident saved her from a continuance of 
this kind of abuse ! 

I, Mrs. Minard, do hereby testify, that I do not think I was 
insane any of the time I was there ; neither do I think my 
friends ever had any justifiable cause for locking me up as an 



130 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE: 

iiisane person. I know I have said and done things they 
could not understand, neither can I tell how these ideas came 
to me. I never went with the Spiritualists, nor have I read 
their books, but I know I do converse with spirits, and re- 
ceive direction from them and instruction ; but I can't tell 
how it comes to me. And this is what they call my insanity. 
But it is not insanity it is spiritual religion. I feel that I 
have had a spirit guard about me, or I should have become 
insane, by the treatment I have experienced in Jacksonville 
Insane Asylum. That Asylum is a most dreadful place to 
put one into, as it was conducted while I was there. If that 
Asylum is a specimen of others, I think they had better all 
be destroyed, than go on as they are now conducted. No 
one who goes there can ever feel entirely free from the bad 
influences which they get while there ; and when once put 
there, they are almost certain to be put there again and again. 

I took the whole care of my room, during all the time I 
was there. Only once was my bed made for me, except those 
three days of sickness, and no one has ever complained of me 
for not keeping my room in good order; and no one ever did a 
stitch of sewing for me. I did all my own sewing, except 
to have a dress cut and fitted occasionally. Only one was 
made for me, and that was made out of the house. I did 
all my own washing and ironing during the last two years I 
was there. I was in the best ward all the time I was there, 
and I never was locked up in any room but my own. The 
attendants treated me with almost uninterrupted kindness; 
they have not locked my door at night for seven years, neither 
did they require me to put my own things out of my room at 
night. I was the only one who was ever allowed to enjoy 
these privileges during all the time of their imprisonment ; 
and this act of partiality caused some complaints amongst the 
multitude of other prisoners, who were equally trustworthy 
as myself. 

The spiritual influence which accompanied me while there, 
seems to have left me since my return home. I do not seem 
to possess those spiritual gifts I then did. I can't tell why 



MRS. MUSTARD'S TESTIMONY. 131 

they are withdrawn, mor than I could tell why or how they 
were bestowed. I don't know that I have done any- 
thing wrong, to cause their withdrawal. I can trust, how- 
ever, it will all prove to be for the best that it is so, for my 
friends might continue to call it insanity, and thus my personal 
liberty be exposed again ; for all the world could not tempt 
me to be false to my own honest convictions of truth and 
duty. All I want, and sigh for, is religious freedom that I 
may dare to do right, and not imperil my personal liberty by so 
doing! Thank God ! my personal liberty is now protected 
in Illinois, by the passage of the "Personal Liberty Bill." 
Would that no other State Asylum could imprison me again 
without a jury trial ! But I shall not dare to do wrong, how- 
ever, even to prevent another incarceration, and I do hope I 
shall never be imprisoned again. 

These Insane Asylums are the worst houses in the world 
in my opinion, and I do wish they might all be destroyed ; 
and I think this would be the wish of every one, if they only 
knew just how they are carried on, as I do, from my nine 
years' imprisonment there. I wish all those who defend them 
could be locked in one long enough to feel and know the truth, 
as I do, for I am sure they would then agree with me in wish- 
ing them all demolished. I do hope and pray that no others 
will ever be built in this, or any other State, unless they can 
be ruled with love and kindness. These are the only reform- 
atory principles in the universe ; but abuse and cruelty only 
cause, increase, and perpetuate the evils Asylums are designed 
to cure. 

I was discharged May 1, 1867, as the result of the passage 
of the "Personal Liberty Bill," March 5, 1867, without any 
trial. SAKAH P. MINABD 

St. Charles, May 9, 1867. 



132 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XXII. 
Testimony of Mrs. Tirzah F. Shedd, of Aurora, 111. 

It is for the benefit of those now in Jacksonville Insane 
Asylum that I give the following testimony to the public, hop- 
ing it may stimulate the people to provide some remedy for 
existing evils. 

This is to certify, that I, Mrs. T. F. Shedd, was incarcera.- 
ted in this Asylum on the 7th of July, 1865. I was imprisoned 
there fourteen weeks. My baby was five months and a half 
old, when I was taken from her, and my two other little girls, 
and forced entirely against my will and protest, into this pris- 
on-house, for an indefinite length of time, on the charge of 
monomania on spiritualism, brought against me by my husband. 
True I had a mock jury trial at Geneva court house, as the 
statute law of 1865 requires ; still Ifelt that justice could not 
be done me before such a tribunal of prejudice as existed 
against me on the ground of my spiritualism. And so it 
proved. My case was not fairly tried before an impartial tribu- 
unal, and therefore I was condemned as insane on the subject 
of spiritualism. 

This decision therefore placed my personal liberty entirely 
in the hands of my husband, who was fully determined to use 
this legal power to subject my views to his will and wishes. 
I, of course, resisted this claim, and assured him I should nev- 
er yield my right to my personal liberty to him or any other 
power; for so long as he could bring nothing against me but 
what I regarded as my religion, I claimed the protection of 
my personal liberty under the flag of religious toleration. 
Notwithstanding all my arguments, my entreaties, my prayer, 
my protests and my vigorous resistance, by fighting single 
handed and alone my six strong men captors, for forty-five 
minutes, I was finally taken from my sick bed, bruised and sore 
from this brutal assault, and carried in my undress to the cars, 
with the handcuffs dangling at my side, leaving my little girls 
screaming in agony at this unnatural bereavement of their ten- 
der, loving mother. And yet this is a land of religious freo- 



MRS. SHEDDS TESTIMONY. 133 

dom ! It may be a land of freedom for the men, but I am sure 
it is not for the married women ! 

And although entirely sane, the heartless Dr. McFarland 
did receive me, when my last hope of liberty died within me, 
and I found myself entirely in the power of a man, whom I 
had sad reason to fear was not worthy of the unbounded trust 
and confidence he was then receiving from the people of Illi- 
nois. After I was discharged, I expressed this same opinion 
to him in a letter as follows : " Dr. McFarland, I gathered 
facts from every department of the Asylum and your private 
conduct towards me, which I well understood at the time 
enough to ruin you /" I have no confidence in that man's hon- 
esty. His policy is stronger than his principles ; and I told 
him this opinion too, in my letter to him in these words, 
" You took my husband by the hand and when alone said to 
him. 'Mr. Shedd, this woman (meaning me) is not cra-zy, nor 
never has been, excited she may have been from various causes ; 
but temporary derangement is not possible with such an or- 
ganization, although I shall pronounce her hopelessly insane, 
because she will not say she has changed her mind !' " 

Is not his decision that I am insane, the dictation of his 
selfish policy, instead of his honest conviction ? It seems to 
me that he is willing to belie his own judgement to shield 
himself and my persecutors from harm. And the written ad- 
vice he gave my husband, strengthens this conviction in my 
own mind, viz : " Mr. Shedd, you must not tyrannize over her, 
but flatter her with presents, and let her have her own way 
as much as you can." Why is this? Is he not afraid I shall 
become exasperated toward this party including himself, and 
expose them in consequence? It seems so-to me, for he says it. 
is impossible for me to become insane, and this advice did not 
seem to be needed for my protection or good. 

I think Dr. McFarland is not fit for his place, and as I view 
it, the safest course for him to pursue now is, for him to re- 
sign ; and I advised him to do so in my letter, viz : " All that 
^1 now ask is that you give up that position which you con- 
fessed to me you were sick of five years ago, and release those 

6A 



134 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

women you hold there as prisoners, under the will, of cruel 
husbands, and others who call themselves friends." This let- 
ter from which these extracts are made, was sent back to my 
husband with this single sentence added to it, "Is Mrs. Shedd 
becoming more insane? A.M." 

There were a great many spiritualists there, whomhe called 
insane like myself, for this reason alone, seeming to fear them 
as witnesses against him, unless they carried his diploma of 
" hopeless insanity" upon them. He has been obliged to lib- 
erate many such of late, oy the enforcement of the law for the 
" Protection of Personal Liberty," and he was very careful too 
to send off this class of "hopelessly insane" (?) prisoners be- 
fore the time appointed by the Legislature for their jury trial, 
so that by this policy they were denied the opportunity of a 
jury trial, in vindication of their sanity. And had the jury's 
decision contradicted the Doctor's opinion, as it did in Mrs. 
Packard's case, he might have had more reason to fear their 
influence. 

One day after I had cut and made me a neat and becom- 
ing white dress, the Doctor seeing me in it remarked, "I don't 
see how a man could put a lady like you away from her 
home." At another time, he remarked, "if you were my wife, 
I should want you at home. 1 ' Would he want an insane wife 
at the head of his family ? 

I enjoyed many privileges there which others did not, and I 
might have used these liberties to escape ; but I chose 
rather to remain until all my prison keepers had had a fair 
opportunity to see that I was not insane. I also wished to look 
into the secret workings of this prison, but in order to do this 
I knew I must first secure their entire confidence, and any 
attempt to escape I knew would at once circumscribe my 
limits of observation. By the course I have pursued the Doc- 
tor has had a fair opportunity for arriving at the candid con- 
viction he expressed to my husband of my sanity, viz : " Mrs. 
Shedd is not crazy nor can she be with her organization." 

The confidence my keepers had in my sanity was expressed 
in various ways. One was by their allowing me to have my 



MRS. SHEDD'S TESTIMONY. 135 

own pen-knife and scissors during all my incarceration, which 
act is strictly forbidden by the by-laws ; and of course it would 
be necessary to keep these articles from insane people. An- 
other fact I found out through them was, that this house is 
used as the headquarters for the Masons to get their bounti- 
ful feasts in ; and yet the prisoners have heard the Doctor 
deny that he was a Mason, himself ! But feasting the Maso)is 
is not the only feasts the Doctor is in the habit of bestowing 
at the State's expense, and at the sacrifice too of the much 
needed table comforts of the invalid prisoners, such as fruits, 
berries, melons, butter, cream, milk, wines, vegetables and such 
like. I know the State has a heavy wine bill to pay yearly, 
charged for the " good of the patients ;" but judging from both 
of the Doctors' appearance at times, I should think they made 
free use of it themselves, and I am sure they and their guests 
use fa,r more of it than the patients do. 

The prisoners are kept uniformly on the plainest and coars- 
est kind of fare, far better suited to a class of working men, 
than sick women. Even butter is not always furnished, and 
when it is, it is often so very poor that it is not fit to eat, and 
I have known meat sent to the wards so very foul that the at- 
tendants would not put it upon the table, and the boarders 
would have nothing left them to eat but molasses and bread. 
Only once a week are we allowed any kind of sauce or relish 
of any kind to eat with our butterless bread. It is true the 
prisoners have the privilege of looking through the iron grates 
of their prison windows at the twenty-five nice fat cows, 
" headed by the buffalo," on their way to and from their rich 
pasture ; but it would afford us far more solid satisfaction to 
have been allowed to use some of their new milk and sweet 
bntter, for our health and comfort. It does seem that with 
all the money the State expends on this Institution that its 
boarders ought to be decently fed. But they are not. 

Great injustice is done the prisoners in respect, to their 
clothing, by losing much of it, which the Doctor accounts for 
on the false plea oftentimes, that " the patients tear their 
own clothes." Some of the prisoners do tear their own clothes. 



THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

but most of their losses in clothing, are the result of wrong 
conduct on the part of the employees. 

I once saw Miss Conkling held under the water, until al- 
most dead, and I feared she would never get her breath again; 
and I was obliged to help in doing this myself, or I might have 
to exchange places with her ! I saw Mrs. Comb, and helped 
do it. held by the hair of her head under a streaming faucet, 
and handfuls of hair were pulled from her head, by their rough 
handling, simply because she would not eat when she was not 
hungry I I have seen the attendants strike the hands of the 
patients with their keys, so as to leave black and blue spots 
for many days. 1 have seen them pinch their ears and arms 
and shoulders, and shake them, when they felt that they could 
not eat ; and were thus forced to eat when their stomachs 
were so rejecting it as to be retching at the time. There is 
one married woman there who has been imprisoned seven 
times by her husband, and yet she is intelligent and entirely 
sane ! When will married women be safe from her husband's 
power ? And yet, she must assert her own rights, for the 
government does not protect her rights, as it does her husband's, 
and then run the risk of being called insane for so doing ! I 
do not think the men who make the laws for us, would be 
willing to exchange places with us. 

This house seems to me to be more a place of punishment, 
than a place of cure. I have often heard the patients say, 
" this is a wholesale slaughter house !" And there is more 
truth than the people ought to allow in this remark. They 
bury the dead in the night, and with no more religious cere- 
mony than the brute has. We can hear the dead cart go 
round the house in the night to bury those prisoners who have 
been killed by abuse ; and their next door room-mates would 
not know, sometimes for months, what had become of them, 
because they were told they had gone home, when they had 
gone to their silent graves ! I have heard of one case where 
the patient had been dead one year, before the Doctor inform- 
ed the friends of the death of their relative ! 

The prisoners are not allowed to write to their friends what 



MRS. YATE'S TESTIMONY. 137 

kind of treatment they are receiving, and an attemp' to do 
so, clandestinely, is punished as an offense. The punishment 
for this offense is, they mnst have their term of imprison- 
ment lengthened for it. I once knew the Doctor to threaten 
to keep one prisoner longer even for aiding another in getting 
a letter to her friends. 

The indefinite time for which they are imprisoned renders 
this prison all the more dismal. If the prisoner could but 
know for how long a time he must suffer this incarceration, it 
would be a wonderful relief. Then the Superintendent could 
not perpetuate it at his own option, as he now can and does. 
These prisoners are much more at the mercy of their keepers 
than the penitentiary convicts. As it is now conducted I 
should choose the place of the convict in the penitentiary, rath- 
er than the place of a patient in Jacksonville Insane Asylum. 
And yet there is not one in a hundred probably, of the patients 
who is treated as well as I was during the fourteen weeks I 
was imprisoned there. 

The above statement, I stand responsible for as the truth 
as it was when I was there ; and I now challenge the people of 
Illinois to bring forward proof, if it can be found, to refute it. 
Indeed I court and invite the most rigid investigation, 
knowing that the result will only be a confirmation of this 
statement. TIBZAH F. SHEDD. 

Aurora, May, 1867. 

XXIII. 
Testimony of Mrs. Horace Sates,* of Chicago, HI. 

I was entered in September, 1857. Was there seven weeks. 
I occupied the Seventh ward. I was just recovering from a 
confinement, and was deranged from nevous weakness ; still 
I. knew all that transpired as well as I now do, and have as 
clear conception of what I experienced and witnessed there, 
and can relate it, as well as any period of my life. 

*Her testimony was taken, under oath, by the Committee. 



138 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

I had not slept for nearly two weeks, and I found the noise 
and confusion of an Insane Asylum a poor place to secure the 
quiet, and good food I needed. Nothing was done to make 
me sleep. I had no kind of medical treatment whatever. My 
food was so very coarse,! suffered greatly from hunger. The 
food consisted almost entirely of bread and meat. We had 
scarcely any butter at all. No vegetables, except very sel- 
dom some small unpeMed potatoes only once did we have 
beets, and this was about all they had of any kind while I was 
there. 

Sabbath nights we had apple sauce or raw apple with our 
supper. This was all the fruit we had. The attendants had 
vegetables, fruits and plenty of good food, but the patients 
got no such fare. We could see cart loads of vegetables, 
drive into the yard, but all our longing for them could not get 
the patients any share in these good things. We were hur- 
ried through our meals, so that I could not get time to eat 
all I needed, poor as it was ; and I was not allowed to carry 
even a crust of bread to my room. Only once did I manage 
to take a crust of bread to my room unnoticed. Once I took 
my tumbler from the table to the hydrant to draw me some 
water to drink, when my attendant seized me by the shoul- 
ders and shook me so long and so severely, that I could not 
speak to save my life. Indeed, I almost fainted under her 
hands. Dr. McFarland came into the wards just after, and I 
told him what a shaking I had just had, and I could hardly 
articulate from its effects, when he simply made light of it, by 
saying, " 0, no, I guess you are mistaken ; it was only a love 
pat I" He is utterly indifferent to any complaint a patient 
makes. This is just a specimen of the manner he treats 
them. 

The first thing they did to me was to force from me my watch 
and jewelry. Not understanding their intentions I resisted 
them they then threw me down upon my back on the floor, 
and jumped upon my stomach with their knees, so violently, 
that it is a wonder, in my weak state, they did not kill me. 
Mrs. Hart, from Chicago, in the room opposite, knowing 



MRS YATE'S TESTIMONY. 139 

what was going on, and feeling her inability to interpose in 
my defence, expressed her indignation by taking a silver 
thimble and crushing it with her foot ! I thought this rather 
a rough beginning on a weak sick woman, but just able to be 
oft' from my bed. But I found this was the way all were 
obliged to submit to just so much abuse as they chose to prac- 
tice upon us. I could not defend myself, neither could the 
patients defend each other. Nor would the Doctor listen to 
our story, much less protect us from their abuse. I wrote to 
my husband, telling him how much I wanted to come home, 
but although the Doctor promised to send it, he never did. 

The patients are ruled with rigor, and are sometimes tor- 
tured very severely. The worst torture I found Ihere was 
the shower-bath; which is, letting water drop from a great 
height upon them, which must be terrible, judging from the 
deafening, agonizing shrieks uttered by the victim while un- 
der this torture. I. never witnessed this abuse, for the pa- 
tient is locked up alone at the time ; but we could hear their 
shrieks and cries for mercy. 

I think the Doctor is accountable for the abuse of his pa- 
tients. He ought to be their protector, but he is not : he 
don't seem to care how the patients are treated. It is a most 
dreadful place of punishment, but is not a place to be nursed 
and treated like a patient at all. They have to learn to be 
patient under wrongs, and this is the only sense that the term 
" patient" will apply to them. 

My husband took me to ride when he came to see me, and 
when the horse took a road in the direction of that dismal 
place, it made me shudder so that he concluded to take me 
me home, where I soon recovered. But had he put me back, 
it does seem that I should have been ruined. I told my hus- 
band that I thought all such houses ought to be burned up, 
and I think so still, unless they are better conducted than that 
was while I was there. 

MBS. H. H. YATES. 

Chicago, May 25, 1867. 



140 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

XXIV. 
Testimony of Mrs. Caroline E. Lake,* of Aurora, HI. 

I was a patient at Jacksonville Insane Asylum three months. 
My husband placed me there to secure a "course of medical 
treatment," to cure me of what is called ''religious monoma- 
nia." I was just as capable of judging of my surroundings 
as I am now. I was put through no course of medical 
treatment, as my husband expected I should be when he put 
me there, and offered Dr. McFarland five hundred dollars to 
secure such treatment as would cure me. 

The patients get no course of treatment for insanity at that 
Institution, that I could find, but restraint and imprisonment, 
the loss of their natural rights, and in some cases, great abuse. 
I did not see much physical abuse in the Seventh ward, but I 
believe it is practised in other wards. 

But it was a course of severe treatment to me, to be put 
where my word is not regarded where I could not communi- 
cate with my friends, except all my letters to and from, be 
read by the Doctor, and to have all my rights and privileges 
subject to the dictation of keepers in short, to be a prisoner, 
and treated like a convict, is most cruel treatment to bestow 
upon the innocent, but unfortunate. One who has lost his 
reason, can ill afford to lose his personal liberty also, and with 
it all his social rights and privileges. I think had I been left 
there long, I should have become insane, hopelessly. And 
most fortunate for me was my husband's offer of five hundred 
dollars, for I think this alone was all that saved me from 
this terrible result, for such treatment long continued must 
have ruined me. 

I think the treatment there, makes more insane or idiotic 
people, than it cures ; and no place that I ever was in, should 
I more dislike to be returned to than that Institution ; and I 
believe there seldom was a patient there who got as good 
treatment as I did, or rather, who did not get worse ! 
*This testimony has been before the Committee, but not the witness. 



MRS. LAKE'S TESTIMONY. 141 

If a patient enters a complaint to the Doctor, he seems 
utterly indifferent to it ; whether it is just or unjust, he don't 
seem to care. It is of no use to appeal to him, while a pa- 
tient there. He seems to act as though patients had no rights 
which he is bound to respect at all. He gives us no satisfac- 
tion in his answers to our intelligent questions. We feel that 
we are a despised class, to be tolerated, rather than be re- 
spected and cared for. The rule of the house necessarily 
produces this feeling. 

Ought not the insane to be pitied, and made to feel that 
they are cared for as human beings, having human feelings in 
common with others ? I do, to this day, 'feel an instinctive 
shudder, when I think how entirely defenceless and exposed 
I was while there. We can't help feeling that we have no 
laws, nor friends to shield us there ; nor can our friends shield 
us, for we are not allowed to write to them and tell the treat- 
ment we are under, for we know it would not be sent if we 
did. Therefore we must be false to ourselves, and utter lies 
by saying we are well cared for, or we can have no communi- 
cation with them whatever. Then our friends feel sure we 
are contented and happy, when we are most discontented and 
miserable ; and besides, we find it impossible to get a release 
from our imprisonment so long as we express any dissatisfac- 
tion with our surroundings. 

We must seem happy when we are miserable, or we can 
have no chance for a release. For example, I have seen Mrs. 
Timmons, a sane woman to all appearance, who has been there 
five years, crying most bitterly to be sent to her children and 
friends, but on hearing the Doctor's footsteps 'she will hush 
up instantly, and try to assume the most placid and quiet 
appearance, lest he protract her imprisonment if he found her 
in tears crying to go home. And it is even so when her 
friends visit her, she is afraid to let them know how she does 
feel lest the Doctor find out that she is discontented, and then 
her release will be sure to be " indefinitely postponed." Thus 
her imprisonment has been protracted on this false pretense 
that she is contented and happy, and thus the Doctor secures 



142 THE PRISONER'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

a most splendid cook for his table, free of cost ! Her friends 
are either deceived or blinded in relation to her state, or, in 
my opinion, they -would take her home. 

I think there are many married women put there to get rid 
of them, who are not insane at all, and I think their husbands 
are made to believe they are well treated, when the subjection 
and arbitrary rule of the house renders them so wretched, 
that they prefer death to such a hopeless, indefinite imprison- 
ment. I think many of these husbands would not have sent 
them there, if they could have known how the Institution is 
conducted. 

Even letter writing is punished as an offence, if it is done 
clandestinely for the sake of writing the truth. I knew the 
Doctor to threaten one of the Seventh ward ladies with an 
extension of her term of imprisonment, for writing the truth to 
a brother of a patient, to tell him that his sister was not 
insane, but falsely committed, and solicited his aid in her 
deliverance. This is a punishment most of all to be dreaded, 
but as the term of each patient's imprisonment is left wholly 
to him to determine, he can retain them year after year, when 
they ought to be at home. It is my opinion, the management 
of the Institution needs to be radically changed, to make it 
what the public generally suppose it to be ; for they are 
blinded and deluded in relation to it. 

MRS. CAROLINE E. LAKE. 
Aurora, May 12, 1867. 

The husband of Mrs. Lake gave me the following, as an 
expression of his views on this subject. Said he, "I placed- 
my wife in Jacksonville Insane Asylum, in September, 1862, 
where she remained three months, when the Doctor returned 
her to me as 'cured,' but she was far from being so in my esti- 
mation. I sent her east, and in two months she was cured, 
and has had the care of her family since. I did not pav the 
Doctor the five hundred dollars I offered to do in case he cured 
her, and she remained cured six months. As for Dr. McFar- 
land's knowledge of insanity, I think his decision in mv wife's 
case, shows that he is either ignorant of his profession, or he 



NOTE TO THE READER. 143 

is indifferent to it. I think he has already been there too 
long. He has become hard-hearted, and callous to human 
suffering. The Institution is conducted entirely different 
from what I supposed. I should never consent to put an- 
other friend there under its present management. I can 
see no reason why the patients should not be allowed to 
write freely, and just what they please. Every natural social 
right should be protected to them, as a means of bringing 
them back toa natural state. I hope, Mrs. Packard, you will 
have all the testimony published, for it ought to be." 
I have a witness that these were his words. 

E. P. W. PACKARD. 



Note to the Reader. 

During my extensive travels throughout the different 
States of this Union, where I have already sold eighteen 
thousand books upon this subject, all by direct personal 
appeals, and by single sales, I have become by this means, 
cognizant of the feelings and views, of a very large class of 
United States citizens upon this subject. 

I have become personally acquainted with, and made per- 
sonal appeals to three Legislatures upon this subject. I have 
sold almost every book to men and I have especially sought 
out the men of the very first class, in point of position and 
influence in society, and it has been from this class alone I 
have received most of my patronage, in the sale of my books. 

From this standpoint of personal knowledge, I am prepared 
to state that I know of thousands of men, found in these 
ranks in society, who now sympathize with me in my views 
of the present Insane Asylum System, and this number is 
constantly increasing through the influence of the agitation 
these books are producing. 

In order therefore, that these individual influences be focal- 
ized into a power which may be felt, and used to secure their 
overthrow, on their present corrupt basis, the writer sug- 



144: THE PRISONEK'S HIDDEN LIFE. 

gests that whenever this volume falls into the wake of this 
influence, that some self-appointed agent copy the following 
Constitution of an ''Anti-Insane Asylum Society," and cir- 
culate it throughout the town of his or her residence, and 
forward their names to my address, at Chicago, Illinois, 
hoping thus to form a nucleus of a humanitarian reform in 
this most needed department of human rights. 

CONSTITUTION OF AN ANTI-INSANE ASYLUM SOCIETY. 

Since it has become self-evident from the facts before the 
public, authenticated by the Illinois Legislative Committee, 
that our present system of treating the Insane, is a gross 
violation of the principles of Christianity, and of mental pa- 
thology, and therefore, can not receive the sanction of the 
enlightened and conscientious ; and knowing that it takes a 
long time to revolutionize such popular institutions, sustained 
by State's power; we can not submit to pass off the stage of 
action, without leaving our protest against them. 

Therefore, while the present system exists, we, the under- 
signed, do hereby pledge ourselves, 

1st. That we will never consent to be entered intb such 
Institutions as patients. 

2nd. We will never consent to have any relative or friend 
of ours, entered as a patient. 

3rd. If we, or our relatives or friends, should become in- 
sane, they shall be taken care of by their friends, in their 
own homes. 

4th. This Society pledge .themselves that such shall be 
kindly and appropriately cared ;jbr. 

5th. That if. the relatives of the unfortunate one are not 
able to provide for, and bestow suitable treatment upon them, 
this Society shall furnish them with the meajis for doing so. 

Gth. This fund for the protection of the unfortunate, shall 
be bestowed by a committee of this Society, as their judg- 
ment shall dictate, after having thoroughly investigated the 
whole case. MRS. E. P. W. PACKARD. 

Chicago, Illinois. 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA